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Basketball coach files suit and scores

Story Highlights

• NEW: Alabama high school girl's basketball coach reaches settlement
• NEW: Coach Roderick Jackson will receive $50,000, keep his job
• NEW: Terms also say Board of Ed will provide girls equal playing facilities
• Roderick won Supreme Court Title IX discrimination suit on girls' behalf
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Alabama high school coach who won a case before the Supreme Court after he was fired from his job has reached a settlement with his local school board.

As part of the deal, Roderick Jackson will keep his job as head of the girls basketball program at Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham. The Board of Education also has promised to provide equal facilities citywide for all girls and boys teams.

"My aim all along was to ensure fair treatment for Birmingham female athletes and this agreement, at long last, should guarantee that happens," Jackson said.

Jackson sued local officials after he was dismissed from his job.

He claimed the firing was retaliation for his repeated complaints that the basketball facilities for the girls team were dismal compared to those for boys.

The gym the girls used for practice had no heat, wooden backboards and bent hoops, and the team relied on inferior transportation to games, including car pools, while the boys used buses.

Jackson sued under Title IX, the landmark law requiring equality for women in scholastic sports.

School officials argued that because Jackson was not a direct victim of sex discrimination, he had no right to sue for alleged retaliation.

Under terms of the deal reached Tuesday, Jackson receives $50,000 and his lawyers get $340,000 for the five years it took to fight the case.

The school board will also appoint Title IX coordinators for each school to ensure compliance, including training.

"Coach Jackson has secured justice for himself, for the nation, and for the students of Birmingham," said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, which helped him in his legal case.

"Roderick Jackson stood up for his girls, and in the process helped set an important precedent that ensures that people cannot be punished for standing up to fight discrimination."

The county school board continues to deny wrongdoing on its part, including accusations female athletes were unfairly treated.

The high court ruled 5-4 for Jackson in March 2005, allowing his lawsuit to go forward.

"Reporting incidents of discrimination is integral to Title IX enforcement and would be discouraged if retaliation against those who report it went unpunished," wrote then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for the majority. "Individuals who witness discrimination would likely not report it, indifference claims would be short-circuited, and the underlying discrimination would go unremedied."

Ensley High School, where Jackson first made his discrimination claims, closed this year, and students this fall merged with another facility, Jackson-Olin.

But he will remain the girls basketball coach.

The team begins its new season next month.


High school coach Roderick Jackson, seen in 2004, won a Supreme Court suit alleging the school treated girl and boy players differently.



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