Palmer ISD has been informed by the U.S. Department of Education that it will be reviewed relating to a complaint alleging violations under Title IX.
Title IX is the federal law relating to provision of equivalent athletic opportunity for members of both sexes. The complaint will be handled through the federal agency’s Office for Civil Rights in Dallas.
“If there are some compliance issues, we want to be compliance,” Superintendent Alan Oakley told the Daily Light in an interview Thursday. “If there is an area we find where we are out of compliance, we truly do want to be in compliance.
“At this point, the allegations are very general and it is my responsibility to respond with the information that’s been requested,” he said.
According to the department’s Office for Civil Rights’ notification letter, an unidentified complainant alleged the district discriminates against participants in the girls’ athletics programs at the high school and middle school in the following respects:
provision of equipment and supplies at the high school provision of locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities at the high school opportunity to receive coaching and assignment and compensation of coaches at the middle school
The complaint was filed May 30, with the district notified July 5. The district has been provided a two-page list of questions to answer and provide documentation for relating to the district’s athletic programs including budgeting, number of student participants and staffing. The district’s response is due by Aug. 17.
“At this point, a letter has been received and information is being gathered, which we will forward on for review,” Oakley said, saying he has not spoken with anyone at the Office for Civil Rights at this stage of the process.
The letter indicates the Office for Civil Rights will review the requested information and an investigator will contact the district. Further steps in the process could include requests for additional information, an onsite visit and interviews with various personnel.
Oakley said it is his understanding that if an issue of noncompliance is found, the Office of Civil Rights will work out a timeline with the district to achieve compliance.
“We are taking a very proactive approach to this and re-sponding in a timely manner to the OCR,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting the matter resolved.”
Administrators are gathering up the final information needed to submit to the Office of Civil Rights, he said, noting school trustees will be updated during an executive session at the next board meeting.
“And as much as we’re able to, we will keep the public informed,” Oakley said.
Other school districts in the area that have undergone Title IX review in recent years include the Midlothian and Venus ISDs.
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