Thursday, May 07, 2009

Three years, three complaints

I think repeat offender status can officially be placed on Darien High School in Connecticut which, this past week, was the subject of a third complaint (in as many years) to OCR regarding Title IX compliance. This complaint is being filed on behalf of all girls' varsity athletes at the high school. Previous complaints focused on the gymnastics, swimming, and softball teams. Complaint one in 2006 about the equitable treatment of the boys' and girls' swim team was found to have no merit. But the OCR, during its investigation did find that girls were not getting enough opportunities and this put Darien on OCR's radar screen. Not helping this visibility was complaint 2 that largely focused on facilities and practice times. This complaint has just been resolved though no one is talking about the details yet.
And now complaint three cites a hostile environment for all female athletes and female coaches at the high school but specifically softball, swimming, and gymnastics. A large part of the issue seems to be the lack of a pool or a dedicated gymnastics facility. This means these teams use outside facilities. Outside facilities have fees. And there has been talk of making the athletes bear the burden of these fees given the current economic realities. If more female athletes than male athletes are using outside facilities this results in female athletes bearing more of the financial burdens of the department.
And there seems to be general discontent with the way the Darien School District has handled the gender inequities over the past several years.