SACRAMENTO (Tuesday, March 7) — Female athletes at Red Bluff High School are suing Red Bluff Joint Union High School District claiming that girls at the school do not receive the same athletic facilities, benefits and opportunities as their male counterparts. Their lawsuit, brought under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, says boys are afforded many more spots on teams than girls, even though the student body is more than half female — a difference amounting to nearly 200 missed opportunities for girls.
“As a parent, I am concerned that Red Bluff High School treats girls’ sports as an afterthought. The facilities, schedules, equipment, and more for girls’ sports are inferior to what’s provided to boys,” says Jeramie Struthers, father to one of the students. “Our daughters should not be relegated to a second-class status on any athletic school team.”
Lawyers with Siegel & Yee, a law firm in Oakland, and Legal Aid at Work, a nonprofit in San Francisco, filed the lawsuit. The goal of the lawsuit is institutional change and better facilities and programs for girls. The lawyers and their clients are not seeking money damages.
More than 44 years following the passage of Title IX, the vast majority of athletic programs are still not providing equal participation opportunities for female athletes and are shortchanging girls in the provision of fields, equipment and equal facilities, says Jane Brunner, a senior attorney with Siegel & Yee: “Our girls deserve better.”
“The issues in this case are pervasive in every region of the United States,” says Kim Turner, a senior staff attorney with Legal Aid at Work. Turner noted that girls who play high school sports experience improved mental and physical health while on teams, and they earn higher wages later in life, compared with girls who do not, meaning sports participation is not only about health and wellness, it’s about lifelong economic prosperity.
The lawsuit claims that, in addition to providing girls with fewer opportunities to play sports, Red Bluff High School does not maintain fields and other facilities used by girls at the same level as those used by boys; does not allow girls to use boys’ athletic facilities even when the boys’ teams are not using them; and does not provide girls’ teams with space to hold meetings or host visiting teams comparable to that provided to boys’ teams.
Here is a link to the class action complaint: Class Action Complaint
About Legal Aid at Work:
Legal Aid at Work (formerly Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center) delivers on the promise of justice for low-income people. Our Fair Play for Girls in Sports Project pursues litigation to strengthen and enforce the rights of girls everywhere under Title IX to equity in school athletic programming. Details: www.legalaidatwork.org and www.legalaidatwork/fairplay
About Siegel & Yee:
Siegel & Yee is a 35-year-old civil rights law firm specializing employment and labor law, sports law, education law, students’ rights, and discrimination; a dynamic legal practice representing clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the United States. For details, please visit http://www.siegelyee.com/site/