Tuesday, December 09, 2008

California School District Violates Title IX, OCR Concludes

No surprise here, but OCR has concluded that the Benicia (California) Unified School District is in violation of Title IX in light of its failure to provide athletic opportunities to girls that are equitable in quantity and quantity.

As we have noted in prior posts, OCR's investigation commenced after an anonymous complainant alleged that female athletes at the high school were being treated unfairly. While the specifics of the complaint and the scope of investigation were not made public, the local paper's own reporting shed some light on the issues that were likely under consideration. One problem is that Benicia High School allocates over 60% of its athletic opportunities to boys, a distortion that stems in large part to its three football teams. It also spends more than 12 times as much on boys' athletics than girls,' which has created inferior opportunities for girls, especially in softball. The softball team must play at the city park when it is not being used by the local adult league, in contrast to boys baseball team, which has its own, recently-renovated facility on the high school campus.

Though news of OCR's conclusions did not mention a specific remedial plan, the district has agreed to "conduct yearly surveys to determine the athletic interests of females, and work with coaches and parents to ensure softball athletes have acceptable access to the Community Park fields." Since neither of these promises is certain to remedy the violations OCR has found, I predict that the agency will be keeping an eye on Benicia High.