Feds Open Investigations Into Alleged Title IX Violations By Gresham-Barlow School District

Gresham — On Tuesday, the United States Department of Education (DOE) notified Elite Oregon Girls of their intent to open investigations into allegations of Title IX violations from discrepancies between the baseball and softball teams at Gresham High School and Sam Barlow High School. The complaints, filed in August 2021 by EOG on behalf of the programs, came after stories that EOG ran detailing the inequities between softball and baseball at Gresham and Barlow, with issues ranging from poor field conditions to facility equipment differences. Unsatisfied with the District’s explanations and solutions, EOG moved forward with federal Title IX complaints against them on August 19th, as state complaints require affiliation with the district and/or the jurisdiction in which they lie. Per federal protocol, both EOG as the complainant and the District as recipient were notified electronically of the decision.

With the opening of an investigation, there are several ways it can end: The District can sign a voluntary resolution with the DOE to fix the issues to the fullest extent possible, there is insufficient evidence to prove that the District is in violation, or a conclusion that the District is in violation. Once one of these is determined, a letter of findings will be released to both the District and EOG, alongside with the actions being taken based upon those said findings. Investigations can take undetermined amounts of time, with compliance taking even longer for districts such as the case with PPS and Grant Softball, as PPS signed a voluntary resolution agreement with the feds back in 2020 over similar issues with Grant Softball. That matter is currently in a federal lawsuit filed by the program against PPS. There’s also a small chance that other Title IX issues might be uncovered, which would be addressed by the feds as part of their investigation since they assess the entire scope of the athletic department, not just the softball and baseball programs.

The DOE reminds that they are neutral in all complaints, applying their investigations in accordance with federal laws and precedent, which is what each one is ultimately determined upon. The opening of an investigation is another step forward towards obtaining equality for the athletes at Barlow and Gresham, hopefully with a resolution or finding that pushes forward positive changes for the future of these schools. While nothing is certainly guaranteed from it, it is an encouraging sign and a push of momentum towards the ultimate goal of obtaining Title IX compliance and equality for female athletes throughout Oregon.

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