Summary of “How a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Smashed the Gender Divide in American High Schools”

Fifty years ago this month, at a time when America was divided on questions of war, race, and gender, Alice de Rivera decided that she was fed up with her lousy high school in New York.
Her father, Joseph, was a psychology professor, and her mother, Margaret, was an educational therapist; the family had moved around between college towns before settling in Brooklyn, where de Rivera enrolled in John Jay High School, the local public school.
Fliedner whacked down de Rivera’s request with a nasty letter that read, in essence, “NO GIRLS.” He later told a reporter, “It wouldn’t be just her. There would be a couple of hundred others. And we simply haven’t got the facilities. We’d need a girls’ gym and medical facilities, and a dean of women.” On January 20, 1969, de Rivera filed a lawsuit in New York against the state’s Board of Education.
De Rivera saved some of the newspaper clippings about her, and her insecurities as an adolescent girl are more evident there than in the court records.
Back in the courtroom, beat reporters were delighted to learn that de Rivera came from a feminist family, with a great-great-grandmother, Eugenie de Rivera, who was a suffragist at the turn of the century.
At one point, to gasps in the courtroom, she pointed out that John Doar, the president of the Board of Education, which was fighting to keep de Rivera out of Stuyvesant, had once represented James Meredith in his famous quest to become the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi.
Soon after the decision, de Rivera’s parents moved the family to an off-the-grid, thirty-five-acre commune in upstate New York, and de Rivera lost touch with her friends.
De Rivera is disheartened by the low numbers of black and Latinos at specialized schools, and feels that racism is still built into the educational system, just as sexism was.

The orginal article.