Feds Drop Title IX Case Against 60 Oregon Districts
The Department of Education's office for civil rights will not be conducting an investigation into a Title IX complaint involving nearly 100 high schools in 60 districts in Oregon, according to an announcement posted last week on the Oregon School Boards Association's website.
The complaint, filed in April, alleged that the accused schools were providing more athletic opportunities for boys than girls, a clear violation of Title IX, if true.
Schools can demonstrate their compliance with Title IX in one of three ways, but the prong most often used is the "proportional participation" concept.
Schools don't need to have an equal number of male and female athletes under Title IX, but their number of male and female athletes should be proportional to the composition of their overall student body.
The complaint highlighted roughly 30 schools that had double-digit percentage-point discrepancies between the number of female athletes and the total number of overall female students.
For instance, South Eugene High School, which was highlighted in the introduction of the complaint, had a student body composed of 50.5 percent females, but only 21.7 percent of the school's athletes were girls. To comply with Title IX, the school would have needed to add 66 female athletes, the complaint alleged.
Morgan Smith, a lawyer for the OSBA, told The Oregonian that he wasn't sure why the office for civil rights wasn't pursuing the investigation.
[UPDATE (Oct. 12): Jim Bradshaw from the U.S. Department of Education press office sent me this statement today via email:
"OCR received a number of complaints against school districts in Oregon alleging the districts are not providing equal opportunities for female high school students to play sports. OCR has dismissed all of these complaints because they did not provide facts in support of the allegations so as to raise a potential violation of the Title IX requirement to equally effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of both sexes."]
The Dept. of Ed. isn't off the hook when it comes to Title IX cases, however. This year, Title IX complaints were filed against nearly 100 schools in Idaho and the state office of superintendent of public instruction in Washington.
And in July, the renamed American Sports Council sued the ED over the use of Title IX's three-part compliance test in high schools, arguing that this type of enforcement violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
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