Thursday, June 04, 2009

Darien schools have some issues

Findings from the second (out of three) investigation in three years at the high school in Darien, Connecticut have found inequities that affect four girl's sports. Also revealed was that the three complaints have been filed by the same party whose identity was not made known.
The team from OCR found that four of the girls' teams have inadequate facilities. Gymnastics, which practices at the local YMCA, does not have locker rooms, has a small facility, and also (for some unnamed reason) only competes against one other team.
The softball field, now on campus, still have some issues including lack of dugouts and foul poles (must be tough for umps!).
There are disparities between the practice facilities of the boys' and girls' swimming and diving teams regarding access to the pools where the team competes and the ability to practice with the rest of the team (for divers).
The boys also had pre-season access to dry land conditioning facilities that the girls did not.
The school has agreed to the following improvements:
• For girls’ softball, the field will be cleaned up, construction debris and boulders will be removed, uneven holes will be filled, and the quality of infield and outfield will be made comparable to the boys’ field. Dugouts, bleachers and a bullpen area will also be installed to be “comparable to the boys’ baseball stadium.” All improvements must be completed during the 2009 season.
• For gymnastics, the girls must be assigned locker room space at the high school.
• For the swim team, the district must provide comparable practice time, conditioning equipment, and pre-season practice opportunities to the boys’ swim team.
• The district also agreed to provide locker space at the high school and “ensure that the practice facility and schedule for the girls’ swim team allows those swimmers who are also divers to practice and compete as both a swimmer and a diver.”
• The swim team changes must be in place no later than the beginning of the 2009-10 swim season.
• For girls’ lacrosse, the field must be lined by the start of the pre-season and regular season.
Also reported was that complaint number three, again filed by the same man, is going forward. It continues to address inequities between the swim teams as well as fundraising issues.
He is also concerned about the ability of OCR to enforce the terms of the agreement. He plans on heading to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities if there are enforcement issues.