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Strawberry Mansion lax player sues School District of Philadelphia alleging gender/race discrimination

Wednesday, 13th September 2017

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 9/13/17
Staff Report

A recent Strawberry Mansion High School graduate has filed a federal class action suit alleging gender and race discrimination against the School District of Philadelphia in girls’ sports.

One of the plaintiffs, Nadirah McRae, claims the district’s actions caused her to lose a scholarship to Division I Hartford, according to a report by

“It made me feel like we weren’t good enough to play lacrosse,” said McRae in the report.

McRae claimed the School District of Philadelphia discriminated against girls from low income African American high schools by not allowing Strawberry Mansion to schedule games against more affluent teams and by denying her team proper support and equipment, the report said.

The report said that McRae’s attorney, Glenn Ellis, said the district violated federal law when it provided Mansion and similar schools less resources to play non-traditional sports like lacrosse and field hockey than it gave to more affluent schools in the district like Central.

Also, CBS reported that Mansion coach Jazmine Smith says she was fired by the district when she spoke out after her team was only able to play games against three teams.

The suit also claims McRae lost a scholarship to Hartford when the district failed to file proper paperwork, the report said.

“I felt, like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, McRae said in the report.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of a $250,000 and ways for girls of color to be assisted in participating in non-traditional sports.

CBS reported that the School District issued the following statement:

“One of our core values as a school district is increasing opportunity in the classroom and on the playing field for all of our students regardless of race or gender. We work every day to ensure equity across the School District and that every child is given the opportunity to succeed. Last year we had more than 250 female student-athletes participating on 20 of our school teams in field hockey and girl’s lacrosse, and we continue to promote all sports within the Philadelphia Public League.”

McRae has enrolled at Cheyney University, but the sport of lacrosse is not offered there.



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