Friday, January 07, 2011

See for yourself

After I posted yesterday's piece about the fieldhouse lawsuit in Kentucky, more news stories came across my desk(top).
This one includes a little tour of the fieldhouse as well as interviews with school board attorney Anne Coorssen, and Dick Richards, one of the parents who filed the lawsuit. Richards, apparently, has been attempting to convince administrators and the school board that the field house is a gender equity issue since plans to build it were made public.
Coorssen seems displeased that this one issue is being made, well, an issue. She believes that taking issue over one building is just too narrow to constitute a Title IX lawsuit--especially when looking at the facilities that exist within the school building including locker rooms for every team. Other lawsuits--especially the ones over softball fields--have shown this is not an issue for the courts. Facilities is one actionable aspect of Title IX compliance and thus can certainly be made an issue of. Also she seems to think the lawsuit is unwarranted given that what North Oldham High School provides its student-athletes is a lot better than what other schools do. Perhaps true (though the investigation into the National Women's Law Center complaint will reveal more on the veracity of that claim), but proper defenses to Title IX lawsuits cannot include interschool comparisons.
I'm curious to see where this one goes and what facts and practices and intentions are going to be made most salient. Apparently not only the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, as I mentioned yesterday, weighed in on this issue, but OCR did as well.

Interesting PS of sorts. The video shows a banner for the girls' track and field team, which is allowed to use the fieldhouse from December through the end of the school year. It says Lady Mustangs. Reminded me of that study (can't remember the author--sorry!) showing that colleges and universities which continue to use feminized nicknames to differentiate their women's teams are not as Title IX compliant. Obviously cannot directly apply that to high schools, but it's something to think about.