District Settles Softball Gender Discrimination Suit

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A Georgia school district has agreed to provide equitable funding to girls’ and boys’ sports as part of a settlement agreement of a federal lawsuit of alleged gender discrimination. 

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Turena Tante, the mother of a softball player at Northside (Ga.) High School, filed the suit on behalf of her daughter, accusing the Muscogee County School District of violating Title IX. 

Specifically, the suit alleged that the district discriminated against Tante’s daughter on the basis of her gender by providing unequal athletics funding, access to equipment and supplies, coaching support and facilities and services. 

Tante sought not just equal treatment for her daughter, but also compensatory monies from the district for the damages done to her daughter based on the district’s alleged discriminatory behavior. The suit argued that the parents of female athletes incurred costs for equipment and supplies that boys’ parents weren’t asked to pay. 

The settlement will cover Tante’s attorney fees and costs, and will also ensure that the girls’ programs receive fair treatment. Among the things the district agreed to in the settlement are:

  • Equitable funding as required by Title IX, with no regard given as to the source of funding 
  • Blocking contributions that would result in inequitable sports programs
  • Equivalent provisions for the softball team on or before Aug. 1, 2020, with investments to be made in a new locker room, a coaches' office, storage, and improved facilities for the softball field
  • Gender-neutral policies for equipment, supplies and uniforms
  • Equal access to weight rooms for female student-athletes
  • Girls’ coaches hired and paid at levels equal to boys’ coaches 

The Ledger Enquirer reports that the settlement was approved by the nine-member county school board by a unanimous vote on Monday.

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