It’s an old-school boarding school.
It’s in the middle of nowhere.
And it’s just a few years away from its first year of operations.
The Tacoma Public Schools has taken on a $1.2 million commitment from the state to build its first boarding school for low-income students in the state.
The school, called Tacoma Academy, will begin operating in fall 2017, but it’s expected to serve up to 400 students in two years.
Tacoma Academy, a nonprofit that aims to provide “the best education for our students and their families,” is owned by a group of high school alumni who have a long history in education, including former state superintendent of public instruction, Mike O’Brien.
The nonprofit is a private company with a $2.6 million tax break from the Department of Education.
But a lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the group, which claims Tacoma Academy violated the federal Fair Housing Act, alleges the school is in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of sex.
The lawsuit contends Tacoma Academy’s curriculum includes lessons on “sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sexual activity, gender role stereotypes, and violence.”
The lawsuit also says Tacoma Academy has “exclusively targeted male students, who have been the subjects of widespread media attention.”
The group says it’s not an “abusive environment,” but that it “has been subjected to extensive negative student, faculty, and staff conduct.”
In a statement released in June 2018, the state Department of Justice said the agency would investigate the lawsuit and that the agency was “committed to protecting the civil rights of students in all schools.”
The department declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the school’s future.
The state of Washington has not yet finalized its response to the lawsuit, which was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The center, which is not affiliated with the plaintiffs, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tulac Academy has not commented on the lawsuits.
The state’s Office of Community Standards said it is reviewing the matter.