A federal class-action lawsuit at James Campbell High School 

A federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of two female athletes at James Campbell High School alleging gender-based bias was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Hawaii chapter today.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this morning alleges that, based solely on gender, the athletes “experience grossly unequal treatment, benefits and opportunities in relation to male athletes.”

The complaint noted that Campbell has an athletic locker room facility that is for male athletes only while female athletes “must lug their athletic gear around all day” and find alternate places to change into their uniforms. Some even go off-campus to the neighborhood Burger King to change while others simply do so on the athletic field, the lawsuit said.

To relieve themselves, the girls must go to nearest women’s bathroom in the school gym about 200 yards away, use portable toilets or “face having to crouch down in the bushes,” the complaint said.

Named in the lawsuit is the state Department of Education, which “has perpetuated these inequities for decades across its schools,” the court filing said. The department was first told in 1978 that it was not complying with Title IX, the federal law that bars discrimination based on gender.

“The DOE said it was working to close those gaps. But what followed was four decades of delay in providing female athletes with treatment, benefits, and opportunities equal to those received by male athletes as required by Title IX,” the lawsuit said.

A DOE representative said department officials had not seen or reviewed the lawsuit and were unable to comment due to pending litigation.

Also named in the lawsuit is the Oahu Interscholastic Association, which essentially oversees public school athletics on the island.

OIA Executive Director Raymond Fujino was also unavailable for immediate comment.

A U.S. Department of Education web page details the law: http://bit.ly/2Sz1AZA.

The late Hawaii U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink is largely credited with authoring Title IX. The ACLU is holding a press conference this afternoon detailing its lawsuit in front of the new Patsy Mink statue outside the Hawaii State Library downtown.


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