Thursday, January 06, 2011

Field house prompts lawsuit in Kentucky

In the fall, Oldham County Schools in Kentucky was one of the twelve school districts cited in complaints brought by the National Women's Law Center against districts they found particularly problematic in terms of Title IX compliance.
Now, in a lawsuit brought by two parents, Oldham is being asked to account for its new (built in 2008) $1 million field house that appears to be almost exclusively used for the football team. The new field house has only boys' locker rooms and includes amenities such as a media room, laundry room, and training rooms.
It seems particularly egregious that a new facility seemingly was constructed with so little attention paid at the outset to equitable use. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association even expressed some concern. But in the fall of 2009 it said the advantage the new facility conferred upon boys' athletics was mitigated when the girls' track team was allowed to use it in the spring. This is not enough say the plaintiffs.
Theschool district intends to fight the lawsuit, claiming it is not in violation of Title IX. The district's lawyer has said, as way of defense presumably, that no girls' team is complaining. Given what happens to girls (and others) who complain about gender inequities that is not 1) surprising or 2) a defense--legal or otherwise.