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Letter: NYCLU, ACLU Inquire About Different Batting Helmets For Girls And Boys

May 12, 2005 Mr. Robert Hoerburger Director, PSAL Long Island City Dear Mr. Hoerburger: We have received a complaint about the differential policy imposed by New York City Public School Athletic League (PSAL) regarding the wearing of batting helmets in boys’ baseball and girls’ softball. Specifically, we have been told that boys playing baseball are required to wear batting helmets with two ear flaps and that girls playing softball are required to wear batting helmets with a face guard as well as with two ear flaps. We have been told further than this additional requirement for the softball batting helmet renders the helmet more cumbersome and, indeed, reduces the visibility of the player wearing the helmet. Courts have often found girls’ softball to be comparable to boys’ baseball for purposes of analyzing equity of athletic opportunities. See, e.g., Pederson v. Louisiana State Univ., 213 F.3d 858, 879 (5th Cir. 2000); Landow v. School Board of Brevard County, 132 F. Supp.2d 958 (M.D. Fla. 2000); Daniels v. School Board of Brevard County, 985 F.Supp. 1458 (M.D. Fla. 1997). We, therefore, write to inquire as to whether there are, indeed, different batting helmet requirements for boys playing baseball and for girls playing softball. If so, could you please tell us what justification exists for the differential treatment? Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Sincerely, Donna Lieberman Executive Director, NYCLU Lenora Lapidus Director, ACLU Women’s Rights Project cc: Arthur Eisenberg Caroline Bettinger-Lopez

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