(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore) — An Oregon high school softball team is suing the school district, saying it failed to provide equal facilities to the female athletes, compared to the equipment and practice facilities the boys’ baseball team receives.
All 10 students on the Lake Oswego High School softball team, ranging in age from 14 to 18, included their names in the Title IX lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Portland.
“The LOSD [Lake Oswego School District] has intentionally violated Title IX by knowingly and deliberately discriminating against female athletes at Lake Oswego High School for several years,” a news release from the softball team reads.
A parent began complaining to the Lake Oswego School District about the alleged gender discrimination in 2014, the release says. A “substantial donation” was made to build a hitting facility for the softball team later that year, but was never built because the funds were reallocated to another sport this past February, according to the release.
In the meeting when that decision was made, school representatives allegedly said the softball team would get a hitting facility after it won a state championship, according to the complaint. The school principal did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
“At that time LOHS had an opportunity to start the process of bringing the district into Title IX compliance with the construction of a hitting facility for the softball team,” the release says.
In addition to the indoor hitting facility, which was provided for the baseball team more than two years ago, the complaint compares the on-campus artificial turf field on which the boys play to the dirt field where the softball team practices at a nearby junior high school. While the baseball team is able to practice year-round on the turf field, the dirt field is plagued with “significant drainage problems,” which requires the softball team to cancel practice and games, according to the complaint.
During inclement weather, the softball team is required to practice with an old net inside the gymnasium behind a set of bleachers, which can cause injuries, high school senior Lauren Working told ABC Portland affiliate station KATU-TV.
“I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we’ve had to deal with some injuries behind there,” Working said.
The boys’ baseball field also has superior dugouts, drinking fountains, stadium seating, a press box, sound system and clean, sanitary bathrooms for players and fans, according to the complaint. On the girls’ field, the fans sit on metal bleachers, while the bathrooms are often “broken and unclean without working locks,” according to the complaint.
“The softball field does not even have a United States flag for the pre-game national anthem,” the complaint states.
Andrew Glascock, the attorney representing the team and their parents, told KATU that each of the girls wanted to include their names in the lawsuit.
“They believe in it,” Glascock said. “They’re proud of it.”
The softball team is seeking “injunctive relief,” asking the school district to “immediately cease” and “remedy the effects” of its alleged discriminatory conduct.
Nancy Duin, Lake Oswego School District Director of Communications, said in a statement to KATU that “some improvements” have already been made for the softball team.
“The district has a long history of supporting athletic opportunities for its female athletes and has been working on plans to improve practice and playing conditions for the Lake Oswego High School softball team,” Duin said. “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.”
The school district did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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