Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ohio School District Decides Location for Softball Field

Here is a brief update from Chillicothe, Ohio, where the school district has been struggling for months to resolve disparities in its facilities for softball and baseball. Last fall, the ACLU notified the school district via letter that the lack of a permanent softball facility was discrimination in likely violation of Title IX. In response, the district spent several months considering a variety of possible solutions, and recently announced its decision to construct a permanent softball facility on the site of one of its elementary schools in time for the 2011 season.

Now the district will have to figure out how to fund the project, which will likely cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The article mentions that the softball team itself is fundraising and working to line up volunteers, which is commendable. From an equity standpoint, though, those efforts also raise the question of whether other teams must raise funds for the construction or operating costs of their facilities.

The location of the softball field -- 2 miles away from the high school, according to my research on Google maps -- also raises some equity questions. For reasons not explained by the article, the district did not consider a permanent softball field on the high school campus, where the baseball field is located. (The article only says that the board considered, but rejected, plans to put a temporary softball field there.) I wonder if the district is planning to provide transportation to the field. Assuming other teams do not have playing and practice facilities that are located off campus, it could be inequitable to the softball players if they are the only team to have to make their own arrangements to get to their practice and playing facility.