An Oregon High School Softball Team is suing the local school district over Title IX equality concerns, claiming that it failed to provide equal facilities to female athletes when compared with those facilities provided to the boys’ baseball team. The entire roster of the Lake Oswego High School softball team, ages 14 to 18, were included in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Portland.
In a news release from the team regarding the suit: “The Lake Oswego School District has intentionally violated title IX by knowingly and deliberately discriminating against female athletes at Lake Oswego High School for several years”
Parents have been complaining of discrimination concerns since 2014, noting that even though a “substantial donation” was made to build a hitting facility for the softball team that year, the facility was never built, and instead the funds reallocated to another sport.
School representatives allegedly said that the team would get a hitting facility after it won a state championship.
But it didn’t just stop at the hitting facility, which was eventually built, only to be given to the boy’s baseball team. The suit goes on to compare the on-campus artificial turf field on which the boys play to the dirt field where the softball team plays at a nearby junior high school. The two facilities appear in stark contrast, where the baseball team’s turfed field allows of year round play, where the dirt field suffers from significant draining problems, requiring the softball team to cancel practices and even games when conditions are too poor to play.
In fact, the softball team can rarely practice in inclimate weather, being resigned to an indoor net setup inside the gymnasium, a setup not only unconducive for practice, but also fairly dangerous to the players. “I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we’ve had to deal with some injuries behind there” said high school senior Lauren Working.
The boys baseball field also has superior dugouts, drinking fountains, stadium seating, a press box, sound system, and clean bathrooms for both players and fans. Amenities lacking for the softball fields.
“The softball field does not even have a United States flag for the pre-game anthem” the complaint states.
The Lake Oswego School District released the following statement, noting that “some improvements” have already been made for the softball team
“The district has a long history of supporting athletic opportunities for its female athletes and has been working on plans to improve practice and playing conditions for the Lake Oswego High School softball team,” said Nancy Duin, communications director, “Additional planning, coordination and equipment are required to further improve conditions and the district expects those will be in place within the next several weeks.”
The school district has yet to make a further comment on the suit.