Utah school districts will conduct "interest and abilities" surveys of female students in hopes of resolving a sex-discrimination complaint before the federal Office of Civil Rights launches a formal investigation.
Utah Education Office Equity Officer Richard Gomez said the survey is being drafted this week. It will be the first step in determining which high school sports girls are interested in, he said.The Office of Civil Rights' regional office recently notified Cache, Logan, Box Elder, Ogden, Weber and Davis school districts that a class-action complaint had been filed against them on behalf of female students.
The complaint, filed by Roy resident and Davis school district psychologist Joe Langeveld, says the districts are violating Title 9 by not sponsoring varsity soccer teams for girls when they sponsor varsity soccer teams for boys.
Title 9 prohibits all schools that receive federal money from discriminating on the basis of sex.
Gomez said that in order to resolve the complaint, districts must survey students to see what their interests are.
He said the survey, once completed, will be distributed to all 40 of the state's school districts.
"The survey will determine which school districts need a change in focus for sports for girls," Gomez said. "it will bring up to date the information needed to determine the (girls') interests."
Meantime, the issue of sanctioning soccer and softball has been placed on the agenda of the Utah High School Activities Association's meeting next week. The legislative council of that body, which is made up of school board members, has power to sanction or eliminate high school sports in the state.
If the council does sanction soccer for girls, the complaint would be moot.