Title IX Case Goes to Court Tuesday with AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Support

May 31, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Katie Broendel, broendelk@aauw.org
202.785.7761

Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org
202.785.7738

 

WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Legal Advocacy Fund announced today that it is awarding monetary support for the plaintiffs in Parker v. Franklin County Community School Corporation, a high school athletics case. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in the case this week in Chicago, and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) will present the argument for the plaintiffs.

In 2009, Amber Parker, the former coach of the Franklin County High School girls’ varsity basketball team, sued the Franklin County Community School Corporation and the other school districts against which Franklin plays on behalf of her daughter, who played on the team. The suit was subsequently joined by Tammy Hurley on behalf of her daughter, another member of the team. Parker alleged violations of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution due to the disparity in scheduling of games between the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams. The suit demonstrated that the majority of boys’ games were played in prime time — on Friday and Saturday nights — while the girls’ games were relegated to weekday nights. The scheduling unfairly placed academic burdens on the girls, who competed on school nights, were deprived of crowd support, and were made to feel like second-class athletes.

“It’s exasperating that schools need incentive to treat boys and girls equally,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “We hope this case will send a message that girls aren’t second class citizens — not in basketball or anything else.”

The U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana granted summary judgment for the school districts. In addition, the court held that the school districts are “arms of the state” that are entitled to immunity from suit in federal court for constitutional violations, an issue with potentially far-reaching effects.

Parker appealed the ruling, and the 7th Circuit will hear the appeal beginning Tuesday, May 31, 2011.

AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund support has been instrumental in the success of many gender discrimination cases during its almost 30-year history. Other LAF initiatives include community and campus outreach programs, an online resource library with downloadable advocacy tools, a Legal Referral Network, and various related research reports.

AAUW’s strategic 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 who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.

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By:   |   May 31, 2011