Title IX turns 50, disparities remain


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Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

Stella Mackler

Fifty years ago, discrimination on the basis of sex in schools was legal. That all changed with the passage of Title IX.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that receives funding from the federal government. Title IX affects all areas of education, from sexual harassment and assault to access to classes. However, the passage of Title IX had a disproportionate impact on the involvement of women and girls in sports. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, prior to 1972, one in every 27 girls played sports. Today, that number is two out of five.

“High school sports are essential to character-building,” girls’ lacrosse coach Dan Carter said. “I cannot imagine a world in which my daughters couldn’t play on their school teams.”

Camalyn Turner, the APS Title IX Coordinator for Student Matters, is responsible for assisting those who file grievances and complaints.

“The mark of this legislation really provides a timeline that reflects our ideals as a nation,” Turner said. “It’s just interesting to track and interesting to think about its development.”

The idea of equitable treatment is a key component of Title IX.

“There are various ways that we can ensure equity for our students,” Turner said. “Specifically, what we would highlight in reference to Title IX, from the athletic component, is that students of all sexes, however they identify, should have equal access and enjoy equal support.”

The district aims to continue such equitable treatment when Title IX complaints come to light.

“A student who has alleged being harassed or has undergone any type of treatment on the basis of sex at school might request that somebody escort them from class to class, or they might request that they receive extra counseling services to help them deal with what they suffered,” Turner said. “Even before the Title IX grievance is filed, we have a duty to begin those supplemental measures to support that claimant. We can give the same to the respondent. The goal is to treat both parties equally, before and during the investigation.”

Despite the district’s emphasis on equitable treatment within athletics, many female athletes at Midtown have noticed disparities between their teams and male teams. Senior softball player Mckenna Hiesler has remained disappointed with the quality of her team’s uniforms.

“For our uniforms, we had one black t-shirt,” Hiesler said. “It was a black cotton t-shirt; it was so hot. And that was our uniform, literally, one t-shirt, and the baseball team had three different jerseys or three different uniforms. We didn’t get any of that.”

Heisler also points out that the coaches for the softball team were not all actually softball coaches.

“Our coaches are baseball coaches,” Hiesler said. “Coach Stockdale is a softball coach, but he would work with the infield, and then the outfielders would have to work with the baseball coach. I loved Coach K but it would have been nice to have softball coaches.”

Turner has not received any complaints involving sports at Midtown.

“In this time, we have received some grievances alleging inappropriate conduct or touching in some of our schools outside of sports,” Turner said. “Those claims that are now being investigated, those investigations have not been completed.”

Jill Gossett is president of the Athletic Booster Club. During her tenure, the Booster Club has introduced student-athlete scholarships in an effort to increase equity in athletics.

“Last year we did a scholarship for one female, one male, and this year we’re doing two females and two males, and the scholarships are $1,500 each,” Gosset said. “These scholarships always include female sports.”

She said she has not received any complaints about unfair treatment within female athletic teams.

“If any of the sports teams need help with fundraising, whether female sports or male sports, we help equally,” Gossett said. “Any team can come for us with a request for help whether male or female. It is always an equal playing field.”