Fil-Am student’s sex bias suit vs. Hawaii schools could be a landmark case Fil-Am student’s sex bias suit vs. Hawaii schools could be a landmark case
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fil-Am student’s sex bias suit vs. Hawaii schools could be a landmark case

/ 11:09 PM March 27, 2023
Instead of damages, Ashley Badis' lawsuit is seeking accountability and lasting change for future high school female athletes.

Instead of damages, Ashley Badis’ lawsuit is seeking accountability and lasting change for future high school female athletes. UH NEWS

While she was still in high school, a Filipina student, her sister and two others sued Hawaii education authorities for allegedly discriminating against female athletes.

Their lawsuit could become a landmark case based on Title IX, a 50-year-old federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs and activities that get federal funding.

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Ashley Badis, now a college student, her sister and two other plaintiffs in December 2018 sued the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the Oʻahu Interscholastic Association, accusing James Campbell High School of discrimination against female athletes.

Instead of damages, the suit is seeking accountability and lasting change for future high school female athletes, according a UH News report.

“When you’re a young female athlete in school, you should just be focusing on having fun and getting better at your sport, rather than having to fight for the basic necessities,” Badis told reporter Alisha Churma of UH News. Badis is now a University of Hawaii at Manoa biology student in a pre-med track at UH Mānoa’s School of Life Sciences.

Ashley Badis (center) and her high ss school water polo teammates. UH

Ashley Badis (center) and her high ss school water polo teammates. UH

When she played water polo for Campbell High School for four years, she and her teammates allegedly experienced discrimination and unfair conditions compared with their male counterparts.

She said the school did not hire a water polo coach for three years and her father had to help coach the team. The school was allegedly late every year in reserving a pool for team practices.

Badis and her teammates also had to use old, worn out equipment until her senior year, including old water polo caps that were below safety standards.

According to the lawsuit, other girls sports teams at Campbell also had substandard equipment and facilities. The school provided a locker room for male athletes but not for females, who had to use classrooms or a rest room at a nearby fast food outlet to change clothes.

“Meanwhile, the boys teams were getting pre-season coaching and they got to go on tournaments off-season on the mainland—but we couldn’t even get a practice facility.”

Badis was still a student at Campbell when she and her colleagues filed the lawsuit. Although all four student plaintiffs were officially anonymous, she said school officials disclosed their names to the faculty, which made her nervous.

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A federal judge in July 2022 ruled that the suit could continue as a class action suit. In October 2022, Badis was featured in a New York Times article about the lawsuit’s potential national impact.

“It didn’t really hit me until the New York Times article,” Badis told UH News. “That was the first time I publicly spoke about it, so it was really nice to actually speak my voice and be heard.”

Badis said the article drew an outpouring of support from the community, her family and friends, some of whom weren’t even aware that she was involved in lawsuit.

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