Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Title IX Victory

Let's hear it for Walter Dellinger -- who argued this case on behalf of the good guys. There are several awful fights still ahead of us but that's all the more reason to celebrate our victories. Dellinger, a veteran of these fights, did another great job. Read on for the National Women's Law Center's report. Supreme Court Protects All Who Stand Up for Title IX Rights, Including Coaches and Teachers
Even though recent attacks on Title IX are cause for serious concern, last week the National Women’s Law Center fought off one major threat to Title IX by scoring a key victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the Court decided that individuals who protest sex discrimination may sue to challenge retaliation if their schools punish them as a result. This critically important Title IX retaliation case represents a huge win for women and girls and will enhance fundamental protectionsunder numerous civil rights laws.
In this case, Roderick Jackson, a teacher and girls’ basketball coach, was fired from his coaching position for protesting the unequal treatment of his team at Ensley High School in Birmingham, Alabama. The inequities Mr. Jackson and his team faced were dramatic: unlike the boys’ team, for example, the girls’ team had to practice in an old, unheated, non-regulation gym and had no access to funds earned at their games to pay for game officials and equipment.
Instead of fixing the problems, school administrators stripped Mr. Jackson of his coaching duties. When Mr. Jackson sued to challenge his firing, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his complaint. The Supreme Court has now overturned the Eleventh Circuit’s decision.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Jackson makes clear that civil rights laws by their very nature include a prohibition on retaliation in order to be effective. The decision will affect not only Title IX but also laws that bar discrimination on the bases of race, disability, and age. The case also recognizes that educators are often in the best position to speak out about sex discrimination against students. Congratulations Mr. Jackson!


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