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Ruling sides with female athletes at Oahu high school

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE
                                Campbell High School in Ewa Beach.

    STAR-ADVERTISER FILE

    Campbell High School in Ewa Beach.

A U.S. appeals court ruling said a judge was wrong to deny class-action status to Hawaii female high school athletes suing over gender discrimination.

Their 2018 lawsuit said they were discriminated against because Campbell High School — Hawaii’s largest public high school — didn’t have a girls’ locker room. They also argued girls at the school had inferior practice and game facilities compared to boys.

Monday’s ruling by a panel of judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a U.S. judge’s ruling in Hawaii that said the lawsuit failed to meet certain requirements for class action.

The panel said the district court failed to give appropriate weight to the large number of plaintiffs, which were expected to top 300. The ruling said that U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi also erred in not adequately considering future female athletes at the school.

A spokesperson for the Hawaii attorney general’s office, which represents the state Department of Education, declined to comment today.

The lawsuit said female athletes at the Ewa Beach school must change in closets, in a nearby Burger King bathroom or on the practice field. School administrators retaliated against the students who filed the lawsuit by threatening to cancel the girls’ water polo program, the lawsuit said.

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