(Washington, D.C.) In a Title IX victory, Franklin County High School in Indiana filed a consent decree in court agreeing to schedule its girls’ basketball team equally in primetime slots (Fridays and Saturdays). In January, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of the female plaintiffs in Amber Parker, et al., v. Franklin County Community School Corporation, et al., finding the plaintiffs could proceed to trial in their claim that the Indiana school district violated Title IX by relegating the high school girls’ basketball teams to non-primetime game schedules. The girls have been forced to play on week nights, when attendance is lower and it is more difficult for them to both play and complete their homework. Because of this, the girls said the schedule also generated feelings of inferiority on the team. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), along with law firms Caplin Sniderman P.C. and Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe, LLP, represented the plaintiffs in the appeal. NWLC presented oral arguments before the Seventh Circuit Court in May 2011.
The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:
“The settlement in this case is a great victory for the Indiana girls affected by their school’s unfair scheduling practices. The consent decree will ensure that these female athletes will be treated on par with male athletes in terms of when they get to play – equal treatment that is both right and required under the law. It is simply unacceptable that as standard operating procedure a school would consistently prioritize boys’ athletics schedules over that of the girls. This case sends a strong reminder to all schools that they must treat girls fairly in all aspects of athletics. This legal right to equality in all aspects of education was established 40 years ago in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Yet too many school districts are not fulfilling their obligations under the law. There is more work to do to turn Title IX’s promise of equality in education into a reality for all girls in our nation.”