The Davis school superintendent told the school board he believes it is in the district's best interest to support a proposal to create girls soccer and softball teams in the state.
Richard Kendell asked board members Tuesday night to support the proposal when it is broached at a Utah High School Activities Association legislative council meeting next week. The recommendation follows the filing of a sex discrimination complaint against Davis School District and five other Utah school districts with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. All five Davis school board members serve on the council.The complaint says the district is in violation of Title 9 of the 1972 Education Amendments because it sponsors varsity golf and baseball teams for boys and not girls. Officials at the meeting agreed that district soccer programs, although coed, have excluded young women because of their skill level.
If the districts are found in violation, they could lose federal funding.
Jim Hill, who oversees the district sports programs, also warned the board to not attempt to cancel the boys soccer program in the face of the complaint. That could leave the district just as culpable, he said.
Board member Robert Thurgood said he did not understand the rationale behind spending more taxpayer money creating more sports teams. Kendell explained sanctioning the creation of new teams would only give the option to districts and would not bind them to creating them.
Kendell also asked the board for permission to conduct an interest and ability study among district students that will likely be required by Office of Civil Rights investigators.
"It will help us with our assessment of sports programs in the district," Kendell said.
Kendell said he received notice 10 days ago that the district would be investigated. That will likely include on-site inspection of district records and programs, Kendell said.