AAUW Celebrates Decision in Title IX CaseFebruary 03, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Appeals Court Overturns Dismissal of Indiana High School Basketball Suit
WASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) commends the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to overturn an earlier dismissal of Parker v. Franklin County Community School Corporation, a Southern Indiana high school athletics case supported by the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.
The suit alleges that the scheduling of girls’ basketball games violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The plaintiffs argued that the majority of boys’ games were played in prime time — on Friday and Saturday nights — while the girls’ games were relegated to weeknights. They say these schedules unfairly put academic burdens on the girls by forcing them to compete on school nights, discouraged crowd support, and made the girls feel like second-class athletes.
Originally, the case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana, which held that school districts are “arms of the state” that are immune from suit in federal court for constitutional violations. On Tuesday, January 31, that ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which remanded the case back to the lower court to determine “whether any genuine issues of material fact exist as to the plaintiffs’ claims.”
“It’s almost ironic that this case is happening as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “Unfortunately, we’re not done breaking through barriers on the court and in the classroom because Title IX isn’t properly put into practice. That’s why AAUW feels so passionately about supporting this case.”
AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund support has been instrumental in the success of many gender discrimination cases during LAF’s almost 30-year history. The case-support program provides financial and organizational backing for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from the generous contributions of AAUW members. Other LAF initiatives include community and campus outreach programs, an Online Resource Library with downloadable advocacy tools, a Legal Referral Network, and research reports.