Lake Oswego softball players allege gender discrimination in Tit - KPTV - FOX 12

Lake Oswego softball players allege gender discrimination in Title IX lawsuit

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Lake Oswego High School girls softball field. Courtesy: KPTV Lake Oswego High School girls softball field. Courtesy: KPTV

Members of the Lake Oswego High School softball team are suing the school district, claiming they are victims of gender discrimination.

The group filed the lawsuit yesterday which alleges the district has violated Title IX, an education amendment that prohibits schools from discriminating against or withholding opportunities from students based on gender.

“This has been happening for years and it should be an old topic that women don’t have the same rights as men and that we don’t get what the boys baseball team has,” Lake Oswego senior Lauren Working said.

All 10 players are named in the lawsuit. They claim the boys baseball team gets the best of everything while they make do with leftovers.

Kelly Deos’ 15-year-old daughter Kelsie plays on the team. He says they’ve been asking district leaders for two years to improve their field and practice equipment.

He can’t believe it’s come to legal action.

“You know, it’s disappointing that we’re here,” said Deos. “I mean, we’d hoped the school district would’ve stepped up and taken care of this stuff themselves.”

Deos said you only need to look at the conditions the teams play in. The Lake Oswego High School boys baseball team plays on campus, on a turf field with stadium seating, a batting barn and a concession stand.

The softball team plays across the street behind Lake Oswego Junior High on a dirt field that, players say, has drainage problems.

There are a few metal bleachers, but they say they don’t have an adequate indoor space for batting practice. Deos said the girls don’t want money, they just want the district to comply with Title IX and give equal treatment to both teams.
“At the end of the day, it’s about their equal rights. It’s about their self-esteem. I don’t know what kind of message the school district is sending – that the boys deserve to have the best of everything and the girls deserve nothing?” he said. 

“We have girls on our team who have little sisters and if we can leave a legacy and make the change now and not have them have to deal with it, then that’s the best we could do,” Working said.

A Lake Oswego School District spokeswoman won’t comment on details about the lawsuit, but officials sent a written statement to FOX 12 saying they have a long history of supporting female athletics and, “Some improvements have already been made, such as providing suitable inclement weather practice opportunities for girls softball and an upgrade to the indoor softball batting cage. Additional planning, coordination and equipment are required
to further improve conditions and the district expects those will be in place within the next several weeks.”

In response to that statement Working said, what the school has done so far is definitely not enough.

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