Monday, May 03, 2010

North Carolina High School Cleared of Title IX Charges

After school officials at Cedar Ridge High School in Orange County, N.C., decided to terminate the highly successful volleyball coach, Laurie Calder-Green, and replace her with a less experienced male coach, parents there filed a complaint with OCR, claiming that Orange County Schools discriminated against high school girls and their coaches by paying the coaches less, providing less qualified coaches and not working to recruit and retain their coaches. But after an 18 month investigation, OCR has determined that both county high school athletic programs comply with Title IX.

In its investigation report, OCR acknowledged that the "that the complainant disagrees with the district’s termination of a particular coach." But, it continued, "termination of one coach is an insufficient basis on which to find that the district has denied girls equitable opportunities with respect to coaching, and there is no other evidence that supports such a finding."

Notably, however, OCR's conclusion that the firing of this particular coach deny girls equal opportunities with respect to coaching does not address whether the school's decision to fire the coach was itself discrimination, either directly or in retaliation for voicing concerns about perceived discrimination. A lawsuit addressing such claims is certainly possible.