Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Another Title IX Lawsuit

CNN reports that a high school student is suing her high school for gender discrimination and compares the treatment of the girls' volleyball team to the boys' football team.

Student sues, left off volleyball team DENVER (AP) -- A female senior at Grand Junction High School who can't play volleyball because she didn't make the varsity team filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the school treats girls differently than boys. Unlike boys who play football, girls don't have the option of playing on the junior varsity volleyball team if they fail to make the varsity team, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. Jessica Wieker's lawsuit alleges Mesa County Valley School District No. 51 discriminates against girls, which is a violation of a federal law known as Title IX that guarantees equal gender access to public education. An after-hours phone message left at an answering service for the district was not immediately returned. Wieker's attorney, Michael Grattan III, also did not return an after-hours phone message. Wieker also alleges the school treats girls differently by not offering as many opportunities for sports for girls and provided buses with onboard bathrooms for the football team, while the girls' volleyball team travels to games on district-owned vans driven by coaches.
Unfortunately, the article isn't too specific on the details. I'd like to know why the girl is suing by using a comparison between a girls' volleyball team and a boy's football team. It occurs to me that the reason the boys' team might be getting a bus while girls get a van might have to do with the size of the teams. On the other hand, it seems to be discriminatory that girls don't seem to have the same sports options as boys at this high school; why are girls playing volleyball and boys playing football? To me, the proper interpretation of Title IX should provide for either co-ed or two separate boys and girls teams for both sports, rather than different genders being shunted to different sports. If there are schools that still subscribe to genderized ideals of what sports are appropriate for each gender, thenwe still have a long way to go before we'll see equal treatment for both genders in the American public school system.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this is just another complaint in a long line of them by this family. Jessie is always getting short-changed. She didn't make the team because she wasn't as good as the ones who did!

5/04/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Why Jessie didn't make the team is irrelevant. If there is really an instance of gender discrimination here than, regardless of the whistleblowers good (and sometimes not) intentions, the Court has to rule in favour of equal treatment for both sexes.

From the article, it doesn't sound like Jessie wants to be put on the volleyball team and though she didn't make varsity, it sounds more like she's drawing attention to differential treatment between girls' volleyball (which she is not a part of) and boys' football.

5/05/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

As this person "annonymous" is probably Jessica's aunt - A note to all, this is Jessica's mother. And her lawsuit is very real. We are not suing for money, although Jessica did lose out on 2 possible scholarships because of this situation.

School District 51 has numerous policies (and unwritten rules) that their administration refuses to enforce unless it is convenient for them at the time. From coaches drinking while in charge of athletes at summer team camps - to CHSAA rules & regs. When complaints are filed - they fall on deaf ears.

A Federal Lawsuit will finally open someone's eyes to the fact that School District 51 is not above the law. 11 sports offered district wide for males, 9 for females. 10% more male athletes than female athletes, yet their is 2% more females enrolled in the district. Title IX, specifically states that there must be proportionality - School District 51 does not offer equity!

And the suit also includes 2 other complaints. Age Discrimination and also Civil Rights of 1983 - because the School District has retaliated against Jessica and her family!

To quote Ex-Coach Bob Korver in the GJ Sentinel "To give a senior a position on the JV team, in my opinion, you're taking away the opportunity for a younger team member to develop." According to the Age Discrimination Act - no student can be treated differently than any other, based on their age.

Coach Bob Korver helped to prove this act of discrimination occured to Jessica.

And Jessica still holds multiple individual records for the school volleyball team.

5/06/2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

The charter buses are provided to the football team based on the number of players. The number of volleyball players is dictated by the mode of transportation (9 passenger vans).

5/06/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

mom, thanks for clearing things up about the lawsuit. i wish you and jessie the best of luck in this case!

5/08/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Jen - Jessica has not went by Jessie since she was in grade school at a private Catholic School. The principal of that school always called her Jessica and she liked it. There are only a handfull of people who still call her Jessie - that is how we know who wrote the annonymous statement.

5/08/2005 03:06:00 PM  

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