Thursday, February 20, 2014

OCR Investigates Complaint Against Stephenville, Texas School District

We recently posted about a preliminary decision in a Title IX lawsuit against Stephenville Independent School District in Texas over the athletic program at its junior high school.  Turns out, the same school district's high school athletic program is also under scrutiny.  According to a February 13 letter from OCR (which I have read, but cannot link to), the agency will open an investigation into claims that Stephenville High School discriminates against female student-athletes with respect to the number athletic opportunities available to them, the scheduling of games and practice times, support for travel, assignment and compensation of coaches, locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities, publicity, and scholarship assistance provided by the school.  OCR will also investigate claims that the school district retaliated against the complainant by removing one of his daughters from a club basketball team and failing to respond to both daughters' reports of bullying and harassment.

OCR declined to investigate a claim that the school district mis-reported participation data in its response to the Civil Rights Data Collection by omitting male participants in a 7-on-7 club football team.  The existence of those opportunities, however, will presumably be probed as part of the agency's investigation into the school district's equitable distribution of participation opportunities overall.

It will be interesting to follow the public and private enforcement against Stephenville ISD as they occur in tandem. No doubt there will be lots more to say as these cases develop.