A reader sent me this good news out of California: the Torrance Unified School District has improved the softball fields at West High School after a Title IX complaint filed last fall cited the district with 20 possible violations. The district settled to avoid litigation, and to its credit, moved quickly to install new fields, electronic scoreboards, and spectator bleachers in time for the beginning of the 2010 season — a total cost of $40,000. But the district gets no credit for needing to be prompted by legal action to prompted into action in the first place. It’s neither fair, moral, or safe to require the J.V. softball team to play on a dangerous, dirtless infield and in an outfield that doubles as a practice field for boys in other sports, or to give boys teams favored treatment in terms of fundraising opportunities, field maintenance, and scheduling, as the complaint had also alleged. Moreover, the fact that the settlement also required the district to pay the plaintiffs’ lawyers at the California Women’s Law Center helps underscore the point that discrimination doesn’t pay.
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