Complaint filed against HISD over equality of girls' sports

November 10, 2010 6:39:34 PM PST
The Houston Independent School District is accused of not treating girls' sports equally to boys. In doing so, the National Women's Law Center says the district and 11 others across the nation are violating federal law. The national organization is trying to prove that these inequities exist nationwide, including at HISD. As a result, an investigation is now being launched.

Girls high school basketball is one of HISD's most popular sports for girls to join. Even so, a national organization questions whether the district provides equal opportunity in sports for boys and girls.

The NWLC, a nonprofit group, filed a complaint Wednesday alleging HISD and other school districts nationwide fail to provide equal opportunity for girls to play sports and the group also alleges pervasive and growing inequities.

HISD says those allegations are not true.

"I believe that girls should be given the same opportunity as boys when it comes to athletic,s and we're doing just that in our district," said Marmion Dambrino, HISD Athletic Director.

However, among other allegations, the complaint alleges the number of girls teams in HISD high school dropped by 11 teams from 2004 to 2006.

HISD was named in the complaint along with school districts in these 12 states: Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, California, New York, Kentucky, South Dakota, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

The girls basketball coach at HISD's Lamar High School has her own criticism.

"I think that they are making an unfair comparison. Number one, I think they need to investigate a little more. I've been in the district a while, and I've seen the change," said Barbara Meadough of Lamar.

HISD points out that it offers sports to all girls on a need basis, and it's a campus-by-campus decision.

The initial complaint was filed with the US Department of Education's Civil Rights Office. Now the regional office in Dallas will begin their investigation of HISD.

The complaints are part of NWLC's new campaign, Rally for Girls' Sports: She'll Win More than a Game, to educate schools, the public and parents.


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