Indiana Daily Student

IPS reaches agreement over Title IX violation

The Indiana Public Schools system and the U.S. Department of Education have reached an agreement after IPS failed to give girls an equal opportunity in athletics.

The USDOE’s Office for Civil Rights found IPS was in violation of Title IX of 1972, which states “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

According to an USDOE press release, IPS failed to provide athletic opportunities for girls as well as equal opportunity and access to facilities, locker rooms, equipment, supplies and scheduling of games and practice times.

According to the release, there were 5,538 students enrolled in high schools for the 2010-2011 school year, with the students close to evenly divided between boys and girls. However, 65 percent of the 1,466 athletes were boys, and 35 percent girls.

Victor Bush, IPS district director of athletics, said the investigation began in fall 2010 as a general inquiry into IPS. He said no complaints were filed against IPS before the investigation began.

District-wide, there were questions surrounding the number of boys’ athletic games played during “prime-time,” Fridays and Saturdays, versus the number of girls’ games played during prime-time.

He said there were questions surrounding the facilities at Arsenal Technical High School. At the time of the inquiry, the school was under construction and using only one gym. The school was also not able to use four of their locker rooms because of construction.

There was concern about the number of times girls were practicing against boys late at night, but Bush said the girls’ basketball coach at the time at Arsenal Tech preferred to schedule practices later in the day.

The agreement requires IPS to increase athletic opportunities for girls and improve facilities, equipment and primetime scheduling of games and practice times for girls.

If there are unmet interests in sporting opportunities for girls, IPS might need to add more sports teams or increase sizes of existing teams. IPS must also implement a procedure for students, parents and coaches to request the addition of new sports or sports levels at high schools.

Bush said there were also inquiries about whether girls’ sporting equipment was adequate at John Marshall Community High School and George Washington Community High School.

Bush said the construction has now been completed at Arsenal Tech and the school is able to use two gyms.

“So a lot of things have been repaired or improved over time,” he said.

Bush said he thinks athletics can be like a second curriculum for students and can reinforce concepts learned in the classroom, but said athletics can also be more than that.

“More importantly, sports teaches you about life,” Bush said.

Bush said he usually thinks if the gear or facilities would not be good enough for his own child, they are not good enough for the students of IPS.

He said since 2010, a lot of improvements have been made and IPS is working in compliance with the report to provide their students with the best athletic experience possible.

“I don’t want any of our kids playing in mediocre gear or mediocre facilities,” he said.
The OCR will monitor IPS to make sure they are following the guidelines of the agreement.

“This resolution agreement embodies the fundamental Title IX principles that school districts must provide girls and boys with both equal opportunity to participate and equal benefits and opportunities as participants in interscholastic athletics programs,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon in the release. “Girls in schools across the country deserve to expect that their schools will support their desire to compete at a high level in a fair and competitive environment.”

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