Add Idaho to the list of Western states accused of Title IX violations this year, as 100 Idaho high schools in 78 districts were recently named in a Title IX complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education.
Title IX mandates that any school that receives federal funding must provide equal athletic and educational opportunities. According to the complaint, 78 of the state’s 115 school districts did not provide equal athletic opportunities to female student-athletes.
The complaint also charges that certain schools have a disproportionately small number of female student-athletes compared with their overall female population, which would be in violation of Title IX. It further alleges that schools artificially inflated the numbers of girls taking part in sports by including cheerleading and dance.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last July that schools cannot use competitive cheerleading as a sport to comply with Title IX. According to the court, sports only count under Title IX if they have coaches, practices, and competitions during a defined season, a governing organization, and competition as the primary goal.
The complaint also accuses schools of failing to inform female students about other athletic opportunities, reports the Times-News—a clear violation of Title IX, if true.
Schools can demonstrate Title IX compliance in one of three ways:
• Ensuring that female athletic participation is in proportion to total female enrollment;
• Demonstrating a history of expanding athletic opportunities for females; or
• Proving that they are meeting the athletic interests and abilities of female students.
The government has not revealed the source of the accusations. The complainants request that the Dept. of Ed.'s office for civil rights investigate each school named in the 600-page complaint, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
“We have all the confidence in our schools to do the right thing,” said John Billetz, executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association, according to the AP. “We will be compliant and do what needs to be done to get compliant if need be.”
Oregon and Washington state have also been named in Title IX complaints this year with the Dept. of Ed. The OCR is actively investigating Washington state’s office of superintendent of public instruction as a result, while it’s still determining whether to further pursue the Oregon complaints.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.