Thursday, March 08, 2012

Complaints Filed Against Five Wisconsin Districts

Five school districts in Wisconsin are the subject of recent complaints filed with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, alleging violations of Title IX in the number of athletic opportunities for girls. The complaints, which target high schools in Kettle Moraine, Oconomowoc, Mukwonago, Waukesha and Elmbrook, use statistics from OCR's Civil Rights Data Collection as the basis for alleging that each district fails to comply with prong one of the three part test due to significant disparities -- most of them at or above 10 percentage points -- between the percentage of athletic opportunities for girls and the percentage of girls in the student body. The high schools in these districts are also alleged to fail under prong two's requirement of a "history and continuing practice" of expanding opportunities for the underrepresented sex, having added only one or two girls teams in the last 26 years. Finally, the complaints cite as evidence of unmet interest the fact that there are privately-sponsored club teams for some girls sports at some of these schools, as well as evidence that sports popular in the region are not offered.

OCR has initiated an investigation of these complaints. According to the press, "the school districts have expressed a willingness to resolve the issues and cooperate with OCR."