HomeBlocksFront-GridDistrict Dives Into Title IX Update for La Cañada High Athletics

District Dives Into Title IX Update for La Cañada High Athletics

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board heard an update on the local high school’s athletic programs and associated facilities as it relates to Title IX and equity.
The district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, Debra Cradduck, presented the report to the board, which assessed male and female students’ opportunity to participate in athletic programs and specific benefits associated with each program at La Cañada High School.
Cradduck explained that Title IX ensures that no individual in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation and denied the benefits of or subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. In essence, Title IX mandates gender equality and prohibits discrimination in all federally funded educational settings.
“Title IX applies to many aspects of education, not just athletics,” Cradduck said. “We typically think of Title IX as it relates to athletics; however, it also includes recruitment, admissions, counseling, sex-based harassment, employment, discipline, pregnant and parenting students, and financial assistance.”
Cradduck shared a statistic that shows the impact of Title IX over time, which states that before Title IX one in 27 girls played sports and now two out of five play sports.
“It makes a big difference, and it’s important for us to pay attention to compliance, ethics and making sure that we’re monitoring Title IX in our school systems on a regular basis,” Cradduck said.
Cradduck broke up the presentation into categories, starting with participation and the equal opportunities there are for female and male students in sports.
She noted how many athletic teams are available for students, including 13 sports for boys and 12 for girls, including newer girls’ sports such as lacrosse and wrestling.
Originally starting as a club, girls’ flag football will now be available starting in the fall, too.
“As we have sports that we are signaled by interest of students, we try to investigate that interest and determine if we have a growing sport that we need to consider,” Cradduck said.
Next, Cradduck discussed equal benefits within the LCHS athletic department, which includes equipment, schedules, uniforms and transportation, to name a few.
With the help of LCHS Athletic Director Sarah Beattie, Cradduck told the board that all teams have the basic equipment that meets the standard to play, and teams are welcome to raise funds for additional desired equipment.
Practice and competition schedules were also discussed, and Cradduck said there is now a formalized spreadsheet included and it is adjusted week to week, with coach availability and preferred times considered. Facilities on campus are also rotated between girls’ and boys’ teams as appropriate.
Uniform benefits were also discussed, including a rotation schedule for each sport. Both boys’ and girls’ wrestling, golf, tennis, swim and dive, and water polo have uniforms replaced annually, due to hygiene safeguards or wear and tear, while replacement schedules are developed for the rest of the high school teams.
Cradduck additionally presented a different transportation strategy for competitions, to make things equal, since the district noticed that there was a bit of inequity among the sports teams.
Starting in the fall, “if the competition is between zero and 74 miles away, they would transport using school buses. If it is 75 miles or further away, then they would be [transported by] charter buses,” said Cradduck, adding that there is a third category under which administration could make a different call, if needed.
Fanfare, such as the pep squad or marching band coming to games, was also discussed. Cradduck said that the pep squad itself is not able to go to every game and that breaking up the squad into junior varsity cheer and varsity cheer to attend games might be the best bet.
“Regardless of what support we’re giving our teams, we want to make sure that it’s equitable for boys and girls and spread out [the fanfare] to highlight, support and cheer for all of our teams, no matter what the sport actually is,” Cradduck said.
The district also reviewed facilities and made a list of improvements that could be made, short-term and long-term, which they will continue to develop.
Finally, Cradduck presented additional steps for the future, including ensuring that coaches are clear on making Title IX a priority. The district also plans to review schedules, equipment and budgets annually for the athletic department.
“I just want to say thank you to the governing board for making this a priority, because it has been really beneficial, and we’re looking forward to many more improvements in the future,” Cradduck said.
Board President Josh Epstein thanked Cradduck for her time and effort in the presentation.
“You’ve already identified some pressure points that are sort of addressable very quickly, which is fantastic, and it’s nice to see kind of the beginnings of this work paying off,” Epstein said.
Board member Joe Radabaugh said he was excited to see that things are being documented and that the district is working on making things better for students.
Cradduck agreed, and added, “as much as we would like to make sure everything is equal, I think it’s unrealistic to think that we can make all programs for boys and girls completely the same, because there are just some innate differences that will materialize.”

First published in the May 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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