A recent visit from a pair of federal investigators looking into a Title IX discrimination complaint “went very well,” Stephenville Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said.
The investigation, which has involved tours of district facilities and interviews with a selection coaches and students, was triggered by a complaint alleging unfair treatment of Stephenville High School’s female softball players, which was filed with the Office for Civil Rights last month.
“I felt like the visit went fine,” Floyd said. “We were happy to show them our facilities and let them talk to whoever they wanted to.”
He said there was no specific timetable for the investigators to release a report of their findings.
“I don’t know if it’ll be six weeks or six months (before the report is issued),” Floyd said, while noting that the district will be “happy to comply” with whatever is ruled.
“In general, I feel good about the visit. We certainly want to do what is best for our girls (and boys alike),” Floyd said.
The complaint alleged discrimination “against the female athletes on the softball team by failing to provide females … equivalent athletic opportunity” in provision of locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities and provision of medical and training facilities and services.
As he did when the complaint arose, Floyd countered claims that the district discriminated against its female athletes.
The Honeybees practice and play their home games at McCleskey Field in the Stephenville City Park, and Floyd said those facilities have been improved “significantly” during his tenure with the district.
The field is “head and shoulders above what it used to be,” he said. Plus, the fact that the facility is off-campus is a non-issue, he said, as several other sports also are, including: football, cross country, tennis, soccer and golf.
He added that the district’s athletes have equal access to the trainer and the weight room. In keeping with a District 8-4A agreement, Stephenville has a “trainer on site at every home (softball) game,” Floyd said.
He acknowledged that the district could do a better job of telling athletes and their parents about the availability of lockers at the high school, another sticking point in the complaint. Likewise, if student-athletes needed a ride to McCleskey Field, the district “certainly would provide that,” Floyd said.