Two coaches at Tennyson (Calif.) High School have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, claiming that the facilities used primarily by female athletes are subpar compared to those used by boys.
According to KGO-TV, coaches Gabriel Hernandez and Steve Giggs claim that the fields used by girls are poorly maintained to the point of being unsafe, with deep cracks that make activity difficult.
“Playing out on the field, running around in the grass to catch a pop-fly and having to watch yourself just because there’s a big old crack or a pothole — it’s not fair to these girls,” one parent told KGO-TV.
The girls’ fields see heavy use both during the season and during the off-season, and are used not only by the school but by local youth athletes.
In a statement, the Hayward Unified School District said that it uses voter-approved funds to renovate and upgrade spaces that are used by all athletes.
“We made it a priority to renovate spaces used by both female and male athletes,” the statement reads in part. “The renovations included the football/soccer field, the snack bar, locker rooms, and the track. These spaces are used by sports teams, the cheer squad, and the student band.”
Hernandez first filed a Title IX complaint against the district in 2018.
In a separate statement, the district said that it had previously “agreed to complete repairs and improvements to our facilities at Tennyson High School. This non-binding agreement facilitated by the Office of Civil Rights was entered into for the purpose of resolving a pending complaint and to better serve our students.”
The phrase non-binding was not enough for Hernandez, who has coached the boys’ soccer team at the school for over a decade, but is nevertheless seeking to advocate on behalf of the school’s female student-athletes.
“Why waste our time if you’re not going to negotiate an agreement in good faith?” Hernandez asked in regard to the non-binding agreement.
The district says that an audit by the California Dept. of Education found that the district’s facilities were in compliance with Title IX, according to KGO-TV.