Title IX Claim against Pasadena Unified School District Settles. Girls Now Have Real Options for Sports Participation

Title IX Claim against Pasadena Unified School District Settles. Girls Now Have Real Options for Sports Participation
June 17, 2014

Today, the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) - together with the California Women’s Law Center, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP - settled a Title IX claim against Pasadena Unified School District after the District agreed to expand access to athletic opportunities for girls.

The claim was brought on behalf of middle school girls who asserted they were denied access to interscholastic sports. The District’s PasadenaLEARNs program offered athletic opportunities to boys but girls contended they were not provided with comparable opportunities. Now those girls will be able to participate, as Pasadena Unified and the interscholastic sports program they operate added basketball and soccer programs for girls, and may also add girls’ volleyball in the fall.

“PasadenaLEARNs is advertised as including a ‘co-ed’ sports league and will come closer to living up to this promise as a result of the settlement,” said Elizabeth Kristen, Senior Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. “In a district where girls make up 48.9% of the population, our investigation indicated that only 10% of the LEARNs sports participants were girls at the middle school level. We are heartened that Pasadena Unified will provide real options for middle school girls to participate in athletics.”

“I was disappointed when I found out that I couldn’t play basketball because there was no girls' team”, said Sophie Lindsay, one of the Pasadena Unified students affected by this violation of the law. “Playing sports is important to me, and I couldn’t believe that my only option was to cheer for the boys. When I learned they were starting a girls’ basketball team, I was excited! I knew that you have to speak up when you know something is wrong, but I have always struggled with it. I'm proud that I did speak up because girls are just as important as boys.”