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Hart board member calls for regular Title IX reports

Request comes after investigation launched into conditions at Canyon baseball, softball fields

Posted: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.

A Hart district board member has requested more information on Title IX compliance throughout the district after federal Education Department officials launched an investigation into a civil rights complaint involving Canyon High School baseball and softball fields.

“As a board member, I’d like to see it on the schedule,” Gloria Mercado-Fortine said of regular reports to the board about district Title IX compliance.

“I want an annual report on that, or maybe a couple of times a year,” she said during a phone interview Tuesday. “I hate to be surprised with anything, and we might as well put it in writing.”

Mercado-Fortine suggested a status report on the district’s Title IX situation at the William S. Hart Union High School District board meeting last week.

The issue was raised after The Signal reported Aug. 5 that the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights had opened an investigation into conditions at the Canyon High baseball and softball fields.

Title IX says public schools that receive federal funding cannot discriminate based on gender. The complaint claims the boys baseball and girls softball teams at Canyon do not enjoy equal school-provided facilities.

A similar complaint was filed in Dec. 2007 against Saugus High School by a then-Saugus parent.

Mercado-Fortine said she doesn’t know if there is any validity to the current complaint, but having consistent reports on Title IX compliance would “put us in a better situation knowing that we’re checking things and we’re on top of it and we’re reporting it out.”

The new complaint was filed July 15 with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which keeps the identity of complainants anonymous as a matter of policy.

A letter was sent to the district informing it that the complaint “is appropriate for investigation under the laws enforced by OCR,” the Office for Civil Rights. That letter was received by the district Monday, spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said.

“OCR will proceed with resolution of the complaint,” the letter says.
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