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Bennington families settle Title IX lawsuit with school district

BENNINGTON, Neb. (WOWT) - First Bennington families spoke. Then, they sued. And Monday night, they settled a Title IX lawsuit against the school district over what they described as unequal treatment between boys and girls athletes that was filed in January in federal court.

The three families maintained from the beginning that the suit was never about money. Each are parents of female basketball players or softball players at Bennington High School.

The point of their lawsuit, they say, was to level a seemingly lopsided playing field for boys and girls athletics.

“Most importantly, I hope there’s accountability with this,” supporter Jeremy Dick said Monday night at the Bennington School Board meeting.

Dick and his family have lived in Bennington for 13 years. He said they agree with the language in the lawsuit, which accuses the school district of discriminating against female athletes in several areas including funding, equipment, facilities, and scheduling.

“It’s always just kind of been that’s the way things are. The girls would go to weights and conditioning early in the summer while the boys would go at a later date and get to sleep in,” Dick explained.

But things won’t be that way much longer.

A unanimous vote by the school board Monday night to settle the suit means it’ll go to the courts for signature and ultimately will be given the green light on several facility upgrades and changes to the athletic programs.

 

Derek Aldridge, the district’s general counsel, spoke during the meeting. He said the agreement to move forward with settlement reaffirmed the district’s “commitment to maintaining equal athletic opportunities.”

That commitment, will addresses team uniforms, game and facility practice times, access to publicity, a new electronic scoreboard, expanded spectator seating for girls softball and more.

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