We're learning more about the claims that an East Texas school district is discriminating against their female athletes.
Monday the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights confirmed they are investigating Longview Independent School District. The agency received a complaint that the compensation and equipment provided to male athletes and their coaches is unequal to that of female athletes and their coaches.
The concerns were brought to light by former Lady Lobos soccer coach Chris Yoder at a school board meeting last fall. Yoder says he is not trying to make the district look bad, he simply wants the boys and girls to have the same resources.
"If there's one major point in here, it's the opportunity for these girls to have the availability of everything up here," Yoder says.
Yoder resigned from coaching the Lady Lobos soccer team last fall. He is still teaching at Longview High School, but he is also pursuing equity for former athletes and the ones to come.
"It's much easier not being a coach and bringing this information to light," he says.
Yoder says fewer high school girls have the opportunity to play sports at Longview High School because fewer coaches means managing smaller teams.
"That's coach's toughest job-- cutting someone or telling them they're not good enough, when if they were to come in and I had enough coaches who could coach them... there's no telling where they would end up," he says.
Yoder says the high school has significantly more coaches for male sports than female sports, but the inequity doesn't stop there. The complaint filed with the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights alleges:
"LISD discriminated based on sex when it:
1. Failed to accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of female students;
2. Failed to provide equipment and supplies to female athletes on an equal basis to that of male athletes;
3. Failed to provide female athletes with equal locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities to those of male athletes;
4. Provided more coaches with greater compensation for male teams compared to female teams;
5. Failed to pay coaches of female teams additional money for "extra duties" (i.e. driving a school bus to/from competitions) as opposed to coaches of male teams; and
6. Assigned coaches of male teams fewer class periods to teach compared to coaches of female teams."
"I hope that they don't think that I'm out against the boys, by any means. I have a son that's going to be playing high school soccer here very soon. I'm not against boys, but I also have a daughter and that's what did it for me. Knowing that she's going to be playing high school soccer and she better have the same resources that my son has. That's all I want," Yoder says.
In regards to the investigation, Longview ISD released this statement:
"OCR was present in the district to interview students, personnel and to take a look at facilities and equipment for gender equity in compliance with Title IX."
The district did not return our calls made to them on Tuesday.
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