District settles Title IX lawsuit with Lake Oswego Softball
LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — The Lake Oswego School District settled a Title IX lawsuit filed last year by a high school softball team who wanted improved playing facilities and equal treatment compared to what the boys get.
The girls’ softball team named in the lawsuit said the gender discrimination concerns formally go back to 2014.
The softball team would hold games and practices across the street from Lake Oswego High School at Lake Oswego Junior High.
Softball players said they would have to cancel because of the weather, while the high school turf field allowed for play in almost all weather conditions.
They also claimed unfairness in the quality of practice locations and other facilities.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Heather Beck said the district has reached a settlement and will ensure that all facilities are shared, or equal.
“Since April 2016, when this suit was filed, we have worked diligently to answer the complaint and create an agreement that addresses the immediate needs of the team, while working within a long-term planning process,” Dr. Beck said in a statement, which is posted in full below.
The settlement agreement requires several improvements, including a turf field at the junior high by the 2017-18 season and more improvements like locker rooms, dugouts, lights, and a hitting facility by the following year.
The district will also assign a task force and “Equity Consultant” to monitor gender equality and ensure that the changes are made.
Statement from Superintendent Dr. Beck:
As the Superintendent of Lake Oswego School District, I speak on behalf of our district administrators that we are pleased to announce we have settled the Title IX case Working, et al. v. Lake Oswego School District. With this settlement, we affirm our whole-hearted support of the girls’ softball program and for all female athletes at Lake Oswego High School.
The District and Lake Oswego High School are committed to effectively accommodating the athletic interests and abilities of members of both sexes with respect to the opportunity to participate in the interscholastic athletics program at Lake Oswego High School. We are committed to providing equal opportunity for all students to receive the benefits and services in the interscholastic program.
As we move forward, we will establish a community-wide, volunteer task force to provide input on gender equity, including implementation concerns relating to the settlement agreement. Through a systematic process, dovetailing with the long-range facilities master planning process and education specifications work, Lake Oswego’s athletic facilities will be assessed across the district to ensure the highest quality experience for all of our athletes.
Since, April 2016, when this suit was filed, we have worked diligently to answer the complaint and create an agreement that addresses the immediate needs of the team, while working within a long-term planning process. We appreciate the work of our Athletic Director Brigham Baker and our Title IX Director Michael Musick to bring this to a successful conclusion for all.