EDUCATION

D.C. Public Schools Title IX complaint filed by National Women's Law Center

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The National Women's Law Center says that D.C. Public Schools do not give high school girls the same opportunities to participate in athletics as boys, prompting them to file a Title IX complaint against the school district.

According to documents obtained by the NWLC through a Freedom of Information Act request, DCPS needs to provide hundreds of new athletic opportunities to level the playing field between boy's and girl's sports at D.C.'s public high schools.

The disparity between female enrollment at these schools and opportunities to compete reaches past 25 percent on some campuses and past 10 percent on most of them, the complaint says.

DOCUMENT: Read the full National Women's Law Center Title IX complaint

"Generations of girls in D.C. have lost the chance to reap the tremendous benefits associated with playing sports," NWLC Senior Counsel Neena Chaudhry said in a statement.

Among the highest disparities between female enrollment and athletic opportunity in the District include Ballou (26 percent), Roosevelt (26 percent), Phelps Ace High (20 percent) and Wilson (19 percent). That figure constitutes the percentage of students that are girls minus the percentage of the school's athletes who are female.

In a statement, D.C. Public Schools spokesperson Melissa Salmanowitz told ABC 7 News that they're proud of the steps they've taken to create opportunities for female student-athletes.

"Over the past several years, we have pursued an aggressive agenda to help ensure our female student-athletes are able to compete in a variety of athletics," she said.

Salmanowitz added that DCPS looks forward to "correcting the record" when it comes to the Title IX complaint.

Beyond the gaps in participation, the NWLC report details that sports that girls have shown high interest in playing at school, including soccer, swimming and tennis, are rarely offered on campus. In addition, the NWLC outlines disparities in practice facilities, quality of equipment and uniforms and accessibility between boys and girls sports.

"Forty-one years after passage of Title IX, it's past time to give girls who have waited far too long the athletic opportunities they deserve and that the law requires," NWLC Co-President Marcia Greenberger said.

Andrew Gaston coaches girl's basketball at Ballou High school. He says the school’s programs have improved.

"We're always looking for more ways to get girls involved in sports," he says.

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