Complaint charges sports discrimination at Wake schools

November 10, 2010 2:08:29 PM PST
The National Women's Law Center said Wednesday that it's filed an administrative complaint against the Wake County Public School System alleging the district fails to provide high school girls with equal opportunities to play sports as boys.

The complaint filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights claims Wake County is in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.

The NWLC has also filed complaints against 11 other districts nationwide.

In a news release announcing the complaints, the group said the move is part of a new campaign "to educate schools, the public and especially parents about the widespread inequality that their daughters face in school sports programs and to mobilize parents to press for change."

"These 12 school districts are the tip of the iceberg," said NWLC Co-President Marcia Greenberger in a statement. "Nationwide, only 41 percent of all high school athletes are girls, even though they make up half the student population."

The NWLC said many schools do not offer girl's teams in such state-sanctioned sports as swimming, golf, and tennis.

The NWLC said the complaints are based on the district's own data - claiming in Wake County "there is an 11.8 percentage point gap between the percentage of girls enrolled and the percentage of girls who are athletes."

A Wake County Public School System spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that the district had not seen the complaint yet, but would take appropriate action.

He also pointed out that in Wake County all sports sanctioned by the NCHSAA are available at all schools. It is up to the high school to decide if there is enough interest in the sport to field a team.

In the past week, two female WCPSS athletic teams won state championships and one came in second. In the past five years, ladies teams have won 24 state championships.

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