‘Big win for girls’: State to spend $60M to construct locker rooms for female athletes

This effort comes years after Title IX lawsuits filed against the DOE.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:01 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In an effort to bring fairness to girls sports, the state Department of Education will receive more than $60 million over the next two years to build new locker facilities for female athletes.

The move comes nearly 50 years after the passage of the landmark Title IX law, which bars sex discrimination in public schools.

The DOE in the past has has previously come under fire for a lack of gender equality in athletic facilities.

“This year we are celebrating the anniversary of Title IX. And we want to uphold the legacy that Patsy Mink left left behind,” said state Rep. Sylvia Luke.

This year, lawmaker appropriated $34.7 million dollars for girl’s locker rooms and related facilities. Next year’s budget includes $26.9 million.

“This is something that is going to have to be a long-term commitment,” said state Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran.

“We actually have to work on similar types of improvements at the middle schools and also even at the elementary schools.”

Back in 2016, a DOE report found that 14 public schools only had athletic locker rooms for boys -- and not for girls.

The inequities prompted female athletes at Campbell High School in 2018 to sue because they didn’t have their own locker room.

Their lawyers said that some student-athletes had to change in teacher’s closets, school bathrooms and even at a nearby Burger King restaurant.

The suit is still pending.

Luke said the DOE will now get about $6 million for a new athletic facility at Campbell High School which will include a new girl’s locker room.

Other recent projects include Kalani High School’s girl’s locker room facility which completed in 2019 at a cost of $7.6 million. A similar facility at Aiea High School will cost about $14 million.

“So this is a huge win for girls and girls sports,” said Luke.

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