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North Texas Parents File Gender Discrimination Suit Against ISD

STEPHENVILLE (CBS 11 NEWS) - Football is deeply embedded in the Texas culture. Ever since they were young, boys put on pads and helmets for a chance to make it big.

Kevin McCully is no different than many in Stephenville.  "I love the game of football," he said.

But McCully, whose two daughters attend Henderson Junior High School says when it comes to sports, boys are treated better than girls. "Good for those boys, what they have, good for them. I'm glad they have that opportunity."

McCully though believes his daughters and all girls at the junior high school don't have the same opportunity to play competitively, and are discriminated against. He's filed a lawsuit in federal court in Fort Worth claiming Stephenville ISD violates Title IX, the federal law requiring equal treatment for female and male student athletes.

McCully says, "Girls have fewer coaches. They have less opportunities to practice. They have fewer facilities in which to practice. They have fewer games to participate. They have inferior uniforms."

The sport of choice for McCully's daughters is volleyball. This summer, he and his wife just completed building sand volleyball courts on their property. "Our girls play a lot of volleyball," McCully explained.

In the lawsuit, McCully also claims two school district employees retaliated against his daughter because of the concerns he voiced.

In response to the lawsuit the following statement was issued -

Statement from Stephenville ISD Superintendent, Dr. Darrell Floyd

August 27, 2013

"The Stephenville ISD administration has been notified that a lawsuit has been filed against the District and various employees based on allegations of gender discrimination in our athletics program.  For many years, the District has had in place policies and procedures to ensure equitable opportunities for students and to prohibit unlawful discrimination and retaliation.  We continue to strive for those principles every day as we carry out our educational mission.
Stephenville ISD staff has worked for approximately a year to try to resolve the concerns expressed by this parent regarding allegations of gender discrimination under federal Title IX requirements.  Specific allegations have been made against several employees and have been addressed.  The current dispute is unfortunate because the allegations against dedicated employees and the District are unfair and unfounded.  The court proceedings will be costly in terms of time and money, but we will appropriately defend the District and staff.
The District has not been officially served with the lawsuit papers that we understand are coming soon, and the District's attorneys have not had an opportunity to prepare the official response.  Because of that, it is premature at this time to make any specific response to allegations; we will have opportunities for specific responses in court.  Also, we are not at liberty to discuss specific issues regarding particular students, because we are required by law to maintain confidentiality of student information.
In the meantime, we support our staff in this difficult time."

McCully said he and his family went through the district's entire grievance process, and had no other choice but to sue.  "What's the alternative? Lay back and take it?" he asked.

The North Texas father said the lawsuit has made some fearful. McCully says while he's received support from other parents privately, they don't want to back him publicly for fear their students will be retaliated against.

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