Sunday, May 11, 2008

Coeur d'Alene High Schools Violate Title IX

Last fall we noted that OCR had reopened an investigation against the Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) school district after an anonymous complainant came forward with new evidence to support a previously dismissed claim of Title IX violations in athletics. We said, "the administrators in Coeur d'Alene seem confident this new information will not alter the initial finding of compliance."

Turns out the administrators were wrong. The Coeur d'Alene Press reported Friday that OCR has determined that the district violates the Title IX requirement that schools provide an equitable number of athletic opportunities to boys and girls, as measured by one of three prongs. The district is not eligible for compliance under the first prong, substantial proportionality, because the percentage of athletic opportunities for girls (39%) is much less than the percentage of female students (48.4%). The district did not satisfy the second prong, which requires a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for girls, as the last time a girls' sport was added in CDA, someone named Carter was president. Last, the district failed the third prong because both high schools in the district turned away girls from the volleyball program in sufficient numbers to have fielded another, competitive team. Under prong three, when girls are underrepresented in athletics and when the school has not been proactive about adding girls sports, the school is obligated to ensure that there are at least as many opportunities for all the girls who are interested and able to play competitive sports. The disappointed volleyball players prove that the district had not done so.

OCR's report also contained a finding that the district does not provide adequate support to the girls' swim teams at CDA and Lake City High Schools.

The district has until May to voluntarily comply. The article notes that one of the high schools has already added another volleyball team, so the district is perhaps taking steps in the right direction.

[thanks, H.]