As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the Wake County Public School System is proud to continue support for our exceptional women’s athletic programs. The district is also pleased to announce efforts to assess whether there is unmet interest in additional athletic opportunities for female students, as part of an agreement with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
“Athletics play an important role in education, teaching teamwork, discipline and leadership,” Superintendent Tony Tata said. “We want to ensure that all students who want to participate have equal access to those opportunities at school, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen those programs.”
Wake County currently offers every women’s sport sanctioned by the North Carolina High School Athletics Association, plus gymnastics. WCPSS women’s athletic teams have captured a remarkable 54 state championships since 2001. In the 2011-12 school year, women’s team accomplishments include:
- Green Hope High celebrated state championships in women’s cross country, gymnastics, women’s lacrosse and a second-place finish in the state finals for the women’s soccer team.
- The Millbrook High women’s basketball team won the state championship.
- At Wakefield High, the women’s track team earned a state championship title for the third consecutive year.
- Athens Drive High won the women’s golf state championship for the third time in four years.
- Middle Creek High won the NCHSAA Medium Varsity Division State Championship in cheerleading.
- In women’s softball, Holly Springs High made it to the state championship, placing second in the state; Apex High finished in the top eight in the state.
In 2010, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed 12 simultaneous complaints across the country, corresponding with the 12 regional offices of the OCR. As part of that national effort, the NWLC filed a complaint alleging that WCPSS was in violation of Title IX by failing to provide equal opportunities for female students to participate in interscholastic athletics. Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, which outlaws discrimination in educational programs on the basis of gender.
Over the past year and a half, district officials and attorneys have collaborated with
OCR staff and reached a voluntary resolution of the NWLC complaint. While OCR has not found the district in violation of Title IX, WCPSS has agreed to take specific steps to ensure that female students have equal athletic opportunities. Under the agreement:
- WCPSS will survey all girls in grades 8-12 next year to determine if there is any unmet interest in a sport.
- If there is unmet interest and the ability to field a team that could compete in our district’s established competitive region, then WCPSS will add that sport in the 2013-2014 school year.
- WCPSS will also formalize its system for considering request from students, parents, or the community regarding the addition of new sports.
“We have some very strong athletic programs in place to meet the interests of our female students,” said Bobby Guthrie, WCPSS senior administrator for athletics. “If there are needs to add teams or new sports, we certainly are going to do what we can to create those opportunities.”