Sevier County High School parent sues school system over gender discrimination
A Sevier County Schools parent is claiming that the school system discriminates against girls in their sports programs.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Sevier County High School parent has filed a Title IX lawsuit against Sevier County Schools and the board of education, claiming the school system does not equally support girls’ sports, according to court documents obtained by WVLT News.
The suit was filed on behalf of a student who is part of the school’s softball team and claims that the school system does not provide the girls’ team with the same funding and support that it does male sports teams.
Among the issues listed were problems with facilities. The suit claims that Sevier County High School provides the boys’ baseball team with “state of the art” equipment, like a video-enabled pitching machine and on-campus facilities, while failing to provide the same for the girls’ softball team. Instead, the suit alleges, the softball team has a single sub-par pitching machine, no on-campus pitching facilities to use the machine, and little in the way of other equipment.
Another issue presented was transportation to events. According to the suit, the school’s baseball team often uses the on-campus baseball field for games and often receives bus transportation to away games. Conversely, the suit claims, the softball team must use a local recreation field, sharing it with rec teams and the public, and players must often find their own transportation to games.
Additionally, the suit claims that the baseball team has priority over the softball team on any shared facilities, which in any case do not stack up to the facilities reserved exclusively for the baseball team. For example, the suit said that the baseball team has access to an indoor, three-lane batting facility, but the softball team has to use an outdoor cage. The suit also claims that the baseball team has priority over using that outdoor cage as well.
For these, along with other similar alleged discriminations, the suit is asking for an order forcing the school system to change policy to support girls’ sports more heavily.
WVLT News has reached out to Sevier County Schools for comment. A representative said the school system does not comment on pending litigation.
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