The National Women’s Law Center, a Vision 2020 National Ally, held a webinar Dec. 1 titled “Rally for Girls’ Sports: A Guide to Title IX for Parents, Coaches, and School Officials” to discuss the importance of educating communities about Title IX and to eliminate discrimination in school districts for girls’ sports. The webinar hinged on complaints filed by the NWLC on Nov. 10 against 12 school districts across the country for allegedly failing to provide high school girls with equal opportunities to play sports in violation of Title IX.
Title IX was passed in 1972, and it prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, among other issues. Title IX applies broadly to every federally funded extracurricular activity.
The complaints filed by the NWLC are based on the schools’ own data, which allegedly reveals “pervasive and growing inequities in the number of opportunities for girls to play sports in high school,” the NWLC noted in a press release. This lack of opportunity is seen in the absence of girls’ sports teams in state-sanctioned sports like swimming, golf and tennis.
The school districts named in the complaint are: Chicago Public Schools (IL), Clark County School District (NV), Columbus City Schools (OH), Deer Valley Unified School District (AZ), Henry County Schools (GA), Houston Independent School District (TX), Irvine Unified School District (CA), New York City Department of Education (NY), Oldham County Schools (KY), Sioux Falls School District (SD), Wake County Public School System (NC), and Worcester Public Schools (MA). Read more about the specific school districts in the complaint: www.nwlc.org/rallybriefing.
During the webinar, the NWLC noted ways for parents, educators and advocates to help ensure Title IX is not being violated in their school district and that all girls have equal opportunity to play sports. Parents can let school officials know about their concern, discuss equity with the school district’s Title IX coordinator, find out if school has grievance filing procedure and develop plan of action to address problem areas.
Some measures schools can take are to ensure a Title IX coordinator is in place (this is mandated by law for any school that receives federal funding), train students and staff members about the Title IX requirements are, evaluate athletics programs for compliance and contact Office for Civil Rights about how to comply with Title IX.
Advocates can get involved in the Rally for Girls’ Sports campaign, participate in National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 2 and take action on legislation.