The Lake Oswego High School girls softball team has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the Lake Oswego School District. After facing numerous years of inequality, the entire team has agreed to sue the district with the help of attorney Andrew Glascock.
The team is suing on the grounds of unequal playing facilities as well as unequal treatment from the LO administration.
While the LO boys baseball team is fully equipped with a turf field, finished dugouts, a concession stand, a sound system, a team locker room with hitting cages, the softball team has a dirt field (that has to be maintained by parents and coaches), unfinished dugouts, no concession stand, a speaker that was purchased out of pocket by a previous coach, as well as a net behind bleachers in the gym that is supposed to suffice for a hitting cage.
This inequality of facilities and equipment has weakened the strength of the program, both physically and around LO. Because the girls aren’t given necessary equipment to practice and perform at their best, the team has struggled. Constant teasing about the lack of success the team has had is something the team has struggled with on and off the campus.
“It’s frustrating when your peers don’t even support what you do,” said sophomore Morgan Jones. Jones has been a part of the program since her freshman year as well as playing competitively. “The lack of support from our school financially and morally has definitely affected recruitment as well,” she stated.
Many of the players have been a part of the Lake Oswego softball community since they were young girls. Throughout their softball experiences, many have felt this discrimination. It is not a new thing.
While nice parks, like West Lake, are available for youth baseball, youth softball games in Lake Oswego are held at the fields at Lakeridge Jr. High; these two locations being vastly different as far as maintenance and overall appearance.
After having to constantly play at so-so fields for years, entering high school softball should be an exciting moment for girls; however, after realizing the state in which the program is in many are discouraged.
“We don’t have a strong looking program,” stated senior Lauren Working. Working has been on the team since she was a freshman and admits that the condition of the program is something that harms future generations and their decision to play.
“When you’re looking at what sports to play in high school and you have one high school team that has a much stronger program (like a Jesuit or Tualatin) versus a high school like this one where there is little to no support from the administration or proper equipment or facilities, it can really affect what school you want to go to,” said Working.
Despite the lack of strength the program holds, the players didn’t give up on it. Instead, the players have worked hard with what they have been given as well as continuing to let the administration know they deserve more.
Complaints about the district’s inability to provide equal facilities for the softball team were filed back in 2014. Shortly after, talk of donations towards a new hitting facility emerged. This facility was intended to be used by all softball teams in Lake Oswego, including the youth Renegade program and Lakeridge High School.
Charlie Cobb, a generous contributor towards LOHS sports, agreed to help fund the new facility. After a year of planning the logistics of the facility, the plans and donation fell through, leaving the team without a much needed hitting facility.
This support from the administration was given with an alleged pretense that many players missed- in order for the hitting facility to be built the girls had to win the state championship.
“It’s sad that we haven’t been given the support,” states Working. “This is just a small portion of what Lake Oswego is- we [LOHS] have a problem with showing equality amongst girl and boy sports.”
In agreement with their children, many of the softball parents are displeased with how the program has been addressed. Despite noticing the obvious inequalities, the parents have been fully supportive (financially and emotionally) of their daughters’ decisions to play.
When the talk of suing the district came about all of the players agreed that it should be done as a team. Youth Renegade coach Andrew Glascock decided to represent the team as well as handling the case pro bono.
The team and their lawyer plan to pursue this case against the district. Their end goal isn’t to gain monetary value or a specific tangible, however, they hope this case will shed light to an ongoing problem here at LOHS.