Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Illinois Students and Parents Sue School District Over Discrimination in Athletics

The Canton (Illinois) Daily Ledger reported yesterday on a federal lawsuit filed by parents and students against the Lewistown Community School District. The complaint alleges that the district is in violation of Title IX for discriminating against female athletes in the distribution of funding, equipment, and other resources. Most of the examples of discrimination described in the article relate to benefits and advantages afforded to high school male baseball players but denied to high school female softball players. For instance, the district scheduled 33 baseball games this season but only 23 softball games. Boys received new uniforms but girls had to fundraise for theirs. In contrast to the baseball field, the softball field is not regulation size, has deteriorating and inferior fences, lighting, and backstop, and does not have a reliable, working scoreboard.

Notably, the Lewistown plaintiffs are represented by Attorney Sam Schiller and Professor Ray Yasser of the University of Tulsa Law School, who also represented the plaintiffs who successfully settled a similar case against Ponco City (Oklahoma) Public Schools recently and who have brought other similar cases in Oklahoma and the Midwest.

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