Jun 20, 2012
The Wake County Public School System says it has reached a settlement to a federal discrimination complaint that it did not comply with Title IX.
In Fall 2010, the National Women's Law Center filed civil rights complaints concerning 12 school districts nationwide – one of them being Wake County schools.
The claim stated that the school system was violating Title IX by not offering enough opportunities for women to play sports. Federal investigators never found the system was in violation but on Wednesday, Wake schools announced a voluntary settlement.
Under the terms, the school system will survey all girls in grades 8 through 12 this fall to see if there are any sports opportunities that are not being met. If there are, and it is feasible, the system will add a team in the 2013-14 school year. It will also formalize a process for considering requests of new sports.
“We have some very strong athletic programs in place to meet the interests of our female students,” said Bobby Guthrie, Wake schools' senior administrator for athletics. “If there are needs to add teams or new sports, we certainly are going to do what we can to create those opportunities.”
The National Women's Law Center released a statement Wednesday afternoon, calling the settlement "the first step" to put Wake County providing more sports opportunities.
"Today’s agreement shows that the district needs to take additional steps to comply with Title IX. Girls' participation in sports leads to higher academic achievement and graduation rates, lower teenage pregnancy rates and overall better health," the group said.
Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, which outlaws discrimination in educational programs on the basis of gender.
The 40th anniversary of Title IX going into effect is Saturday.
"Forty years after the law was passed, it is past time for schools to ensure that girls are receiving equal chances to reap the many benefits of playing sports," the National Women's Law Center said.