The North Reading softball team plays 2.5 miles away from their school campus, while the baseball team plays adjacent to the high school.
The baseball team has amenities the softball team lacks: dugouts, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
All this was expected to change with construction of a new $122.7 million middle/high school complex, a project that is currently underway in North Reading, but somehow, two fields — one for baseball, the other for softball — became two for baseball. Some people in town thought this was just too much.
Pictured: North Reading’s Leslie Zewiey pitches during softball game with Andover.
The potential for a complaint to be filed over violations of Title IX — the federal law that requires equal treatment of male and female athletes — looms as a last resort if school officials don’t do not do the right thing, said one of the organizers of North Reading Citizens for Equality.
Some of the issues have been addressed.
The softball team now has a key to the Little School to use a restroom there. Care and maintenance of the softball field has been upgraded, although the baseball field recently had dugouts installed while the softball field did not.
There also have been issues with equal access to the school’s indoor batting cage.
Pictured: Volunteers work on facility where the North Reading softball team plays.
New dugouts were recently installed at the North Reading baseball field. The softball field has no dugouts.
“It’s not equitable for the girls to have to pay for their own transportation off campus or to not have fields of comparable quality,’’ said Erin Buzuvis, a law professor uninvolved in this local issue. “And it’s even more egregious that at a moment when the school is adding new facilities, it’s not seeking to correct that inequity but is perhaps going to exacerbate it.’’