Stephenville ISD has been found clear of any wrong doing as the result of a special investigation after a Title IX complaint was filed with the Office for Civil Rights on March 30.
Charlene Furr, a team leader in the Southern Division, Dallas Office of the OCR, sent a six-page letter dated Sept. 25 to SISD Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd stating the findings of the investigation.
“Based on our investigation, OCR determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a conclusion of noncompliance with Title IX as it regards locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; and medical and training facilities and services,” the letter states.
“We are pleased with the findings of the OCR, and pleased that an outside agency has found that we are not attempting to discriminate against anyone in our athletics program, male or female,” said SISD superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd.
The letter does point out the finding of significant differences in some facilities, but also states why such differences are allowed.
“OCR determined that there was a difference in the number and size of the lockers that favored the boys' program. The coaches reported to OCR that larger lockers and a greater number of lockers were required to accommodate the unique aspects of football, such as the amount and size of equipment. This is a permissible difference under Title IX.”
The OCR inspected all of the school district's athletic facilities from July 10-12, and summarized its findings as follows:
“OCR determined that there were no differences in five of the six factors: 1. availability and quality (age, condition and amenities) of practice and competitive facilities; 2. exclusivity of use of facilities at the time of practice or competition; 3. availability of locker rooms; 4. maintenance of practice and competitive facilities; and 5. preparation of facilities for practice and competitive events. There was a difference regarding the quality of locker rooms because of the number and size of the lockers utilized by the male athletes (football). However, under Title IX this was permissible based on the unique aspects of the sport.
The investigation also found no significant differences in the provisions of training and conditioning equipment or facilities that deny equal athletic opportunity for boys and girls.
“None of the coaches or student athletes interviewed had concerns about access to the trainer or the quality of training services available,” the letter states.
“In conclusion, OCR has determined that the evidence obtained during this investigation is insufficient to establish a denial of equal athletic opportunity to female participants in SISD's athletics program,” the letter reads.
“I'm glad we can put this behind us,” Floyd stated.
The complainant in the case has not been identified by the school district or the OCR due to regulations set forth in the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act.
Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.