A federal lawsuit is alleging that facilities dedicated to girls’ sports at Lexington (S.C.) High School and Lexington School District 1 are severely lacking when compared to boys facilities in the same district — a violation of federal Title IX law.
According to the newspaper The State, the suit alleges that the district is “intentionally” violating the law by failing to provide its female students “with treatment and benefits which are comparable overall to the treatment and benefits provided to male athletes.”
Samuel and Tanya Light, the parents of the softball player (who was not identified by name because she is a minor), filed the suit in federal court after voicing concerns over unequal facilities for girls’ softball in March.
At the time, school officials including the superintendent and school board, insisted that the facility concerns were being addressed. Efforts to improve facilities have included replacing burnt out lights, removing mold from a concessions area, and placing plastic piping on top of fences to protect players chasing fly balls.
However, the suit claims multiple inequities for the facilities dedicated to boys’ and girls’ teams.
From The State:▪ Although boys’ baseball and football programs each have a competition and a practice field, the girls’ softball team has only a competition field, which it is required to share with the school band. The boys’ baseball team has an indoor hitting facility adjoining its field, with lights and climate control; the girls’ team has nothing similar.▪ Boys’ teams have far superior locker rooms and press boxes. The boys’ football team has a four-story press box “with central heat and air, an elevator, a luxury suite, a kitchenette, restrooms and an observation deck. Both football and baseball facilities have “state of the art sound systems, while the softball facility does not.”▪ Boys’ teams have far superior parking lots, lighting, scoreboards, stadium-type seating and public restrooms to those provided to girls.▪ Boys get “superior access” to trainers, weight-lifting programs and weight equipment.
For its part, the district released a statement last Thursday.
“We’re not officially aware of any Title IX lawsuit. However, we believe we are in compliance with Title IX across the district and that we provide comparable facilities and athletic opportunities to both male and female athletes.”