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Athletes sue school district in Mat-Su

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009

WASILLA - Two Colony High School softball players and their parents have sued the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, claiming the district is not providing equal sports opportunities to girls.

The lawsuit claims Title IX violations, named for the education law passed by Congress in 1972 that says no one can be excluded from participation in activities on the basis of gender.

The girls and their parents are referred to only by initials in the lawsuit filed Thursday by attorney Samuel Schiller of Cookeville, Tenn. One girl is 14 years old and the other is 17.

The lawsuit said the district discriminates by financially backing boys' sports better than girls' sports. The softball team, the lawsuit said, is required to raise money for its own equipment and supplies.

It also claims the district provides better facilities for the boys. The lawsuit notes that the district provides an on-campus practice field for baseball but not for softball. Baseball teams also get to use Hermon Brothers Field, while the softball teams are stuck with the Bumpus fields.

School District Spokeswoman Catherine Esary had no comment on the lawsuit but spoke in general terms about sports funding. She said almost every district team and club engages in fundraising.

"Chess clubs, choirs, drama, music - there's always more need than there is money, and so almost every student group in the district will be raising money at some point," she said.



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