Athletic directors at Baltimore City's 16 high schools had until Feb. 8 to respond to surveys from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education concerning differences in boys and girls sports programs. According to yesterday's Evening Sun, the probe began as a result of a lawsuit filed by a female student at a city school alleging that the city schools deny female students equal athletic opportunities.
Federal officials sent the school department a letter informing them of the investigation Dec. 27 and originally gave the school department 15 days to respond. The school department has requested more time.
The letter has been assigned to Don Williams, curriculum specialist in charge of physical education and athletics.
Yesterday, Williams said that he is compiling information from the surveys that were sent to him but would not comment about the responses he has received, nor could he say when the report would be completed.
"All we're doing at this point is collecting information," he said. "There has been a complaint filed. We are collecting information to submit to the federal government. I don't know when we will be submitting it."
Asked if there was any evidence that girls were being discriminated against, Williams said, "We don't want to be out of compliance. We are doing everything we can to keep the program in compliance. That's our goal."
The questions in the two-page letter, which the athletic directors were asked to complete and send to Williams by Feb. 8, ask for information about athletic programs the last two years.
It includes questions about which sports programs are offered in each school, how many males and females participated, how many students are in the schools, what kind of publicity is given to each sport, what kind of publicity is given to signing up and joining the sport, budgets for sports, job description of coaches, where the teams practice and what facilities are available.
The letter notified the school system of the charges against it and said the information is needed as part of the investigation.