Black female athletes to pursue lawsuit claiming Philadelphia school failed to provide equal opportunities

By Chandra Lye | Sep 19, 2018

Strawberry Mansion High School  

PHILADELPHIA  – A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania has mostly denied a motion to dismiss by the School Reform Commission and the School District of Philadelphia, where two former students have made accusations of sex and race discrimination. 

Nadirah McRae, who is African-American and a former student athlete at Strawberry Mansion High School, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 12, 2017. However, the defendants fought it, claiming that she had no standing because she was no longer a student. 

An amended complaint included plaintiff D.J., a current student, with similar accusations in the case. 

“The Amended Complaint provides that Defendants violated Title VI and Title IX by failing to provide black female student athletes with equal opportunities to play field hockey and lacrosse and by failing to provide black female student athletes with the same resources and benefits as are provided to non-black and male student athletes,” the court decision stated. 

“Plaintiff McRae specifically alleges that Defendants’ discriminatory actions resulted in her having lost the opportunity to play lacrosse for the University of Hartford and her having lost an athletic scholarship offer from the University of Hartford in the amount of $250,000.00,” Judge Pertrese Tucker wrote. 

The defendants argued that neither McRae nor D.J. had the standing to pursue the claims. They also argued that because McRae has graduated and D.J. will graduate soon the claims are moot. A third argument states that “Plaintiffs have failed to allege facts sufficient to state the prima facie case for either Title VI race discrimination or Title IX sex discrimination,” according to the court decision.

“The Court ultimately agrees only that Plaintiff McRae lacks standing to pursue a claim for injunctive relief,” Judge Tucker wrote. 

Thus, the motion to dismiss was granted only to McRae’s claim for injunctive relief.

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