Families of 3 Huntsville High School students file gender discrimination lawsuit against city schools
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The parents of three Huntsville High School female students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Huntsville City Schools alleging gender discrimination in how the school system funds and supports athletics.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 28. It alleges the three students, a freshman and two sophomores, are being deprived of equal benefits in school-sponsored athletics.
“Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief which, among other things, requires that defendants provide plaintiffs’ daughters with treatment and benefits equivalent to that provided to the boys’ athletic teams at Huntsville City Schools,” according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs, John and Karen White, Shawn and Lauren Anderson, and John G. Smith, filed the lawsuit on behalf of their minor daughters.
Alleged Title IX violations are the basis of the complaint.
Title IX is part of federal law and is aimed at preventing education discrimination on the basis of gender. The 1973 law has led to sweeping changes across the U.S. in terms of funding for women’s high school and collegiate athletics.
The lawsuit says the defendants have discriminated against the plaintiffs’ daughters in: athletics funding; provision of equipment and supplies; scheduling of games and practice times; travel and per diem allowances; opportunities to receive coaching; provision of locker rooms and facilities for practices and games; training and medical facilities and provision of publicity.
According to the filing, plaintiffs say their daughters and softball players are discriminated against because there are less funds available to them compared to boys’ sports and less off-season training and pre-game meals for girls as opposed to boys. It also mentions a mobile batting cage and other equipment the boys get that the girls do not.
The lawsuit states that the softball facilities are subpar when compared to the baseball facilities. It mentions the girls’ softball locker area that is “an old trailer” without running water, a coaches’ office, tv, or working lights. It also says the field has less lighting and isn’t fully enclosed, without secure storage space.
The lawsuit was filed by the Tennessee-based Schiller law firm, which specializes in Title IX cases.
Huntsville City Schools issued this statement Monday evening:
“We always intend to follow Title IX and other statutes. We have not had an opportunity to review this complaint. When we do, we will respond.”