[This blog entry, originally posted on Nov. 1, was updated on Nov. 15, 2017, to include a link (at the end) to the signed settlement agreement.]
Girls at Red Bluff High School near Redding filed a class action lawsuit last spring alleging they do not receive the same athletic facilities, benefits and opportunities as their male counterparts. On Nov. 1, the local school board agreed to:
- add girls’ field hockey as an interscholastic sport, along with other team opportunities for girls, to ensure girls’ share of athletic slots mirrors their share of
- institute a policy welcoming participation on teams by all students who are interested;
- improve the girls’ softball field areas to ensure that girls experience all amenities in line with boys’ baseball, including comparable cinderblock dugouts, sound systems, press boxes, and field quality;
- improve equipment storage capacity and access for girls’ teams;
- bring locker and team room facilities and access for female home and visiting teams to the same level that boys’ teams enjoy; and
- make fundraising opportunities and athletics budgeting more transparent to ensure girls’ and boys’ teams are treated equitably and receive the same benefits from the district.
“One thing I learned while working on this case is that almost all high schools are out of compliance with Title IX, not providing girls with equal participation and benefits. Hopefully other school districts will wake up and provide girls with equal opportunities in sports without a lawsuit being filed,” says Jane Brunner, partner with Siegel, Yee & Brunner.
Lawyers with Siegel, Yee & Brunner, a law firm in Oakland, and Legal Aid at Work, a nonprofit in San Francisco, filed the lawsuit, litigated the case, and reached the resolution. They did not seek monetary damages, just institutional change.
The lawsuit alleged that 427 boys participated on sport teams last school year (2016-2017), while only 242 girls did. That amounts to a 14.9 percentage-point participation gap (the difference between girls’ share of enrollment and girls’ share of athletic program slots).
Here is the complaint, brought under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The district has agreed to monitoring for at least three years, to be overseen by the federal court and a mutually-agreed upon Title IX consultant.
Here is the settlement agreement.