Thanks to the moxie of three teenage girls bold enough to challenge blatant inequality, girls in Batavia have a decent field on which to play softball.
Batavia’s boys varsity baseball team plays home games in Dwyer Stadium, a $3 million, 2,200-seat minor league facility. In contrast, the girls softball team had been relegated to inferior digs where there was an unkempt field with no scoreboard and no lighting for night games.
It just wasn’t right. So, the three teens and their families sued Batavia schools in federal court. They won, and so did the entire community.
Elizabeth Myers, 18, and her sister, Rebecca Myers, 15, and Kimberly Walsh, a 2013 Batavia graduate, all have something to be proud of.
The class-action lawsuit last year accused the district of discriminating against all current and future Batavia softball players. The lawsuit was rooted in Title IX, the civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in education. It also accused school officials of ignoring the girls’ requests for improvements and at least one written notification that the varsity field was a hazard.
There is now a new modified softball field, and work is under way on major improvements to the varsity and junior varsity diamonds.
It was far from an easy fight. School Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey sounded defensive in a News article in which he talked about needing voter approval for capital projects and how improvements were in the works. But these young ladies and many before them were hearing nothing but excuses, followed by promises that never seemed to materialize.
A field of dreams is not meant to be built for boys only.