CWLC, LAS-ELC and Simpson Thacher Urge Santa Paula School to Ensure it Provides Equal Sports Opportunities to Girls

The most recent data from the federal Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights’ website indicates that at Santa Paula High School fewer girls played sports than boys in relation to enrollment.

According to the Department website comprised of data compiled from high schools, 50.4% of students are girls, yet 44.2% of the athletic program are female participants – an approximate difference of 6%.

On May 5, 2015, the California Women’s Law Center (CWLC), the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) and the law firm of Simpson Thacher sent a demand letter to Santa Paula High School urging it to ensure it provides equal athletic opportunities to its female students.

In 2014, the Ninth Circuit awarded a class of female athletes, represented by CWLC, LAS-ELC and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a decisive victory in Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High School District. Filed in 2007, the U.S. District Court Judge found that the School District had violated Title IX by failing to provide the plaintiffs with equal athletic opportunities, equal treatment and benefits, including equitable access to facilities, coaching and publicity, and that the School District unlawfully retaliated against the female student athletes for filing the lawsuit and asserting their civil rights under Title IX . The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s rulings in their entirety. The former CWLC attorneys that won this landmark ruling where awarded with the prestigious CLAY Award by California Lawyer Magazine in March 2015.

If you are a student at Santa Paula High School and believe that you or someone you know has not received the same quality opportunities as boys to play sports at Santa Paula High School, use athletic facilities, and/or participate in P.E. classes, we would like to learn more about your experiences. Please call the California Women’s Law Center at 1-323-951-1041 or email us at  The California Women’s Law Center and the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center are not-for-profit legal services organizations that provide free legal services to qualifying clients.