HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A Huntsville parent has filed a Title IX lawsuit against Huntsville City Schools alleging unequal treatment and benefits between the boys' and the girls' athletics departments at Lee High School.
The parent plaintiff filed the injunction on behalf of her daughters because of the school system's failure to provide her daughters with comparable treatment and benefits.
The court documents had a number of complaints including:
- HCS provides and allows the infusion of more funding for boys' sports compared to the girls' sports.
- Specifically the baseball program vs. the softball program.
- HCS provides male athletes with better equipment and supplies.
- The softball program is required to pay for some essential equipment such as balls, bats, and pitching machines.
- The baseball program gets a better pitching machine than the softball program.
- The baseball program is provided with mobile batting practice cage; The softball program is not.
- The baseball program is provided with an infield tarp; The softball program is not.
- HCS provides practice time for male athletes who participate in football and baseball during the Fourth Block at Lee High School; During school practice time is not provided for the softball program.
- Football players are provided pre-game or post-game meals and travel expenses; The softball program has no meals provided for them and parents are responsible for providing for the player's travel to and from games.
- HCS supplies superior locker rooms, practice facilities, and competition facilities to the boys as compared to the girls, including:
- Lee High baseball program has a new field house with a locker room for their exclusive use; the girls dress in a field house shared by the football, wrestling, soccer, and track programs.
- The baseball program has a coach's office; The softball program does not.
- The baseball facility has a newer, larger, nine-inning scoreboard; The softball program has an old, smaller scoreboard that is not nine-innings.
- The baseball dugouts are updated lighting and electricity equipment; the softball dugouts are older and do not have electricity or lighting.
- The baseball backstop is new, made with superior netting, and has a brick foundation; The softball backstop is older, made of chain link, with no foundation.
- The spectator seating for the baseball facility includes aluminum stadium-type seating with backs, handrails, and protective screens on the perimeter. The softball facility spectator seating is made of wooden benches set on cinder blocks with no backs, no handrails, and no protective screening around the perimeter.
The Huntsville City School Board settled a similar Title IX lawsuit in 2016 filed by parents on behalf of three Huntsville High School students for discrimination against female athletes. That lawsuit alleged the three students, a freshman and two sophomores at the time, were being deprived of equal benefits in school-sponsored athletics.
The settlement provided for equal funding and support for boys' and girls' athletics, regardless of the source is school funds, contributions from boosters, or other third-party donations.
The Huntsville City School Board claims they have yet to be served with a lawsuit. The Huntsville City School District spokesman told us the district couldn't comment on litigation it hasn't seen.