Gloversville eyes Title IX compliance

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District has entered into an agreement with a federal agency to ensure the district is in full compliance with Title IX, officials said.

The agreement, announced in a news release from the district Friday, was reached after federal officials investigated a civil rights complaint filed in January 2011 claiming the district’s athletic facilities, equipment and supplies, and game and practice scheduling are inferior for female student-athletes.

School board President Richard Carlson said federal officials found the district was not in violation of Title IX, but there was some work that needed to be done.

“Basically, [officials] found that the issues that were raised in the complaint were largely satisfied with the capital project,” Carlson said, referring to improvements made to district athletic fields in recent years.

The release said the district has agreed to:

Providing the girls varsity softball team with an opportunity to participate in night games on a lighted field.

Ensuring that the district’s new softball fields have adequate drainage.

Ensuring the field used by the girls field hockey team, the girls varsity soccer team and the boys varsity soccer team provides an appropriate playing surface with respect to the height of the grass.

Carlson said the three items are all the district needs to take care of to show it is in full compliance with the law.

Michael Demagistris – director of health, physical education and athletics for Gloversville?- said the district reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to stay in compliance with Title IX after the investigation, which is now finished.

“We signed the agreement [Thursday,]” Demagistris said.

In 2011, Karen Hogan, a mother of two children, submitted her complaint to OCR.

OCR is responsible for enforcing Title IX, a 1972 federal education amendment, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in programs and activities that receive financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.

In 2011, Hogan said the girls varsity softball team has played for years on the Little League field, which has a drainage problem.

Husky Field – also used for football – where the baseball team plays, has lights for night games and good turf with bleachers and a dugout, Hogan said in 2011.

At a meeting in?December 2010, school officials announced the softball team would move to the middle school field.

However, Hogan said in 2011 that field has worse drainage problems, no bleachers and no protected area for the teams to sit.

In October 2010, the release said, the district was planning improvements to the softball field behind the middle school and for the addition of a second softball field. These improvements were meant to ensure all district teams were competing and practicing on district-owned fields, the release said.

While OCR continued its review of the athletics program, the release noted the district made improvements to the field located behind the middle school – now the varsity softball field – including: surveying the field, adding a proper drainage system to the entire infield and installing new sod between the new field layout and the old.

“These improvements mean the new softball field is fully compliant with the standards of the National Federation of High School Sports,” the release said.

Hogan could not be reached for comment.

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