As the United States of America heads towards its ultimate dream of true equality for all, one of the most focused on aspects of legislation is equality for girls and young women. As more young women realize their rights to equal access to sports programs and facilities as their male peers, they are beginning to realize how imbalanced their current school programs are. Under Title IX of the civil rights act, they are entitled to file a complaint with the US Department of Education to get parity.
In 2014, more than 3600 complaints were filed with the US department of civil rights, and were successfully resolved. Here is how you can get started by filing your own complaint, if you feel you are not being granted equal opportunities from your institution.
BEFORE YOUR COMPLAINT
To have a successful application of your complaint, there are a couple of things you must note before you get started. They are outlined below:
- Anyone is eligible to file a TITLE IX Athletics complaint, on behalf of a student. This can be a parent, community member, or teacher. There is no requirement to be either a student, or related to one.
- The complaint must be filed within 180days of the unfair treatment taking place. So it is imperative that you file as early as possible, even if the unequal practices are ongoing.
- The changes that you seek in your compliant, known as “relief” in legal terms, may include things like adding more teams for girls, or improving the quality of existing facilities to be on par with what boys receive.
- It is okay to file a complaint, and not necessary to reveal your identity. This is so that complainants who fear retribution may have their identity be protected. However, note that if someone files an FOIA request after the fact, the information in it can be revealed after your complaint is addressed.
INFORMATION TO INCLUDE IN YOUR COMPLAINT
To have the highest chance of your complaint being resolved in your favor, here are some tips on the information you should include in your complaint:
- Sometimes, your school or educational institution will have an internal process for appraisal, that might help you either gain more information or even resolve the problem outright. It is not required, however, to go through these processes before filing an OCR complaint.
- If you feel like you are unfairly retaliated against as a result of your complaint, you may amend these to the complaint, or after the complaint has been made.
- You may also want to supplement your complaint with more information after your initial filing, and can easily do so. In addition, you can request updates, and an estimate on when the investigation will be complete.
- You can file on behalf of many girls at once, who all claim to experience similar discrimination. The OCR accepts these complaints, called “class” complaints.
HOW OCR HANDLES COMPLAINTS
Once you have submitted your complaint, here are some follow up actions that may take place:
- You can file using a combination of Email, fax, or postal mail
- Once you have submitted your complaint, OCR may contact you via phone for an interview to gather more information. Prepare for this ahead of time, making sure to emphasize the key parts of your complaint.
- The OCR may contact your school, and resolve the complaint early in order to let your school district address the allegations of its own volition
- If this early resolution does not success in alleviating your concerns, the OCR will conduct and investigation in 180 days. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this investigation, you may file an appeal within 60 days.
By following this process, girls and young women across the united states can hope to change the inequality and restrictions that they face in their early education, in order to achieve equality and the same opportunities as their male peers. This process ensures gender equality in Sports for all in the USA, and is the reason for the Title IX in the Education Amendments Act.