NYLPI Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against New York City Department of Education and Public Schools Athletic League Calling for Equal Access to School Sports

June 21, 2018

Campaign, Community Justice, Education, Environmental Justice, Health Justice, L.P. v. NYC Dept of Education, Media Coverage, News, Press Release, Sports Equity

Sports equity plaintiff Lisa Parks (center) on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse, announcing the lawsuit filing

Civil rights advocacy group New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a class action lawsuit today, representing student-led organization Integrate NYC and Black and Latino students denied access to New York City public high school sports.

The suit charges that the Department of Education (DOE) and Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) have engaged in racial discrimination by denying Black and Latino students equal opportunity to play high school sports.

On average, Black and Latino students have access to far fewer teams and sports, and the city spends much less per student than for students of other races. Thousands of Black and Latino New York City public high school students attend schools that offer no team sports whatsoever, and Black and Latino students are twice as likely as students of other races to attend schools without sports teams.

The lawsuit, filed pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law, seeks to level the playing field and create equal access to high school sports for all students, regardless of race. Advocates and students have pushed the DOE and PSAL to address this issue for years, and in 2016 formed the Fair Play coalition to bring attention to disparities. Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP and Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady have joined as co-counsel.

Read the full press release here.

Read the complaint here, and accompanying exhibits here: High Schools with Higher Proportions of Black and Latino Students Tend to Have Fewer PSAL Sports, Black and Latino Students Tend to Have Access to Fewer PSAL Teams Versus Other Students, and Black and Latino Students Have Less Access to Nearly Every PSAL Sport Versus Other Students.

Watch the video here.

Read the coverage in the New York Times, the  New York Daily News, Patch, City Limits, Chalkbeat, and AM NY.

Hear coverage of the students discussing the case on WNYC here.

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