ACLU of Hawaiʻi Disappointed by DOE Response to Title IX Demand Letter

HONOLULU – The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai’i Foundation (“ACLU of Hawai’i”) is disappointed by the response the State of Hawai’i Department of Education (“DOE”) provided yesterday to its February 9, 2018 demand letter relating to Title IX violations in DOE schools.

The ACLU of Hawai’i demand letter noted that, according to DOE’s 2016 Statewide Athletic Plan, 14 DOE high schools “do not have separate athletic locker facilities for girls, even when boys in those same schools do have such access.” The letter also provided a March 12, 2018 deadline for the DOE to provide a “plan that concretely addresses the glaring inequality between girls’ and boys’ athletic facilities in DOE schools – and does so expeditiously.” DOE’s response included no such plan.

Executive Director Joshua Wisch said: “The response we received from the DOE late last night raises more questions than it answers. It fails to provide the concrete plan we requested, cherry picks a few examples of supposed compliance from some schools, and generally obscures whether and to what extent DOE is complying with Title IX. We appreciate the DOE’s stated availability to answer additional questions, because we certainly have some.”

Legal Director Mateo Caballero said: “Our legal team is thoroughly reviewing the DOE response. The response appears to cast doubt on the accuracy of the DOE’s own 2016 athletic plan. The response is also difficult to reconcile with what we have heard from students and parents regarding the availability of facilities for female athletes in their schools. From what we have seen so far, our original legal concerns—that DOE is violating the U.S. and Hawaiʻi constitutions, as well as Title IX—remain, so we continue to investigate this matter.”

If there are students or parents who feel that they have been negatively affected by the failure of the DOE to comply with its legal obligations under Title IX, please call the ACLU of Hawai’i at (808) 522-5900.

The ACLU Hawaii DOE Title IX Demand Letter and the DOE Response are attached.

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The mission of the Hawaiʻi affiliate of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its service at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.