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Parents file lawsuit against Bennington School District for unequal sports funding

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 9:56 PM CST
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BENNINGTON, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s basketball season but athletics at a high school is headed for a different kind of court.

6 News learned a federal lawsuit has been filed against the Bennington School District. The parents of three Bennington female athletes claim there’s an uneven playing field compared to funding for boys’ sports.

The allegations that school officials have violated title nine are listed in a federal lawsuit filed by a Tennessee attorney who’s argued 100 similar cases.

Samuel Schiller, the Plaintiff’s lawyer said, “The parents here are not looking for harming boys’ sports, we don’t want to harm boys’ sports. This is all about the kids. We want what is best for all children.”

The parents involved are letting their attorney do the talking.

The three female athletes play softball and basketball at Bennington High School and in the federal lawsuit, their parents allege eight areas of unequal treatment that affect their athletic development.

The lawsuit claims school officials discriminated against the Plaintiff’s daughters who endured unequal treatment in funding athletics, scheduling, travel, equipment, facilities, and publicity. Among several allegations include better uniforms for boys than girls playing basketball, baseballs having superior quality to softballs. Mobile batting cage for boys and none for girls. Allegedly having better safety screens on the baseball field and modern bathrooms while the softball team has porta-potties and no press box.

“They’re not seeking any kind of damages in this case. They’re not looking for any money at all. They just want what’s best for their kids,” said Schiller.

Bennington Superintendent Dr. Terry Haack didn’t know about the lawsuit until being contacted by 6 News. Until it’s officially served, Dr. Haack can only say Bennington tries to provide opportunities for all students including facilities.

The Bennington School Superintendent says the softball field is up for a major renovation by 2022. However, that would be a year after two of the players involved in the lawsuit have graduated.

While asking the court to order a budget boost for girls’ sports, the title nine lawsuit only seeks money for reasonable attorney fees.

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