Earlier, Prep Rally brought you the story of Plymouth (Mich.) Salem High soccer coach Scott Duhl, who was allegedly fired over a parent complaint before the start of the season. Well, across town at Plymouth High in Canton, Mich., another complaint has the prep sports community as equally fired up.
Six years ago, parents of Plymouth High’s boys’ varsity team raised money and built stadium seating so they could watch from above a black chain-link fence that made spectating difficult, according to WJBK-TV. The parents also installed a new scoreboard for the baseball field.
Now, the school must tear it all down. The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation following an anonymous complaint. Ultimately, officials demanded that the seating and scoreboard be torn down because the upgrades are superior to Plymouth’s girls’ softball facilities (pictured). The boys’ seating is also not handicap accessible, which is a separate violation of government regulations.
Plymouth High School superintendent Michael Meissen said the seats and scoreboard will be preserved until the district decides how to remedy the situation. Meissen told WJBK-TV that the school wants to follow the government’s regulations and be “fair to everyone,” but it does not have the funds to upgrade the girls’ softball bleachers. The school reportedly plans to install a new scoreboard on the softball field, though.
There are obvious Title IX implications to this story, as federally funded schools are required to provide equal opportunity for both boys’ and girls’ sports. Forty-two years after the law was passed, schools and colleges across the country are still struggling to comply with the rules in the face of shrinking budgets. Plymouth joins a long list of schools that may be in violation of Title IX, whether they realize it or not.
Of course, there could be a quick resolution to this controversy. The girls’ softball parents might also think about raising money to build their own stadium seating. It seemed to work for the boys’ baseball parents for six years.
- Sports & Recreation