Coaches say girls discriminated against at East Bay high school

HAYWARD — A sports field at Tennyson High School that female students use remains so rundown and need of repairs that two coaches plan to file a civil rights complaint — for the second time — with the U.S. Department of Education.

Gabriel Hernandez and Steven Griggs allege the Hayward Unified School District has not improved the girl’s softball diamond or Tennyson’s southern grass field and instead has re-seeded the northern field, which is mostly used by boys, reconfigured its sprinkler system and added dirt to its baseball diamond.

The district’s inaction, the coaches contend, is happening despite Hayward voters passing Measure L, a $229 million bond measure in November 2014, as well as Measure H, a $381.7 million bond measure, in November 2018 to fund repairs and upgrades throughout the school district.

“It didn’t happen,” Hernandez said Thursday about anticipated work at Tennyson’s southern field. “They did not spend the money.”

Hernandez and Griggs accuse the district of violating federal Title VI and Title IX discrimination laws because girls mostly use the southern field and many are Latino.

The new complaints are expected to be filed sometime next week.

Representatives for the school district could not be reached for comment.

Hernandez coaches the varsity boys soccer team and Griggs coaches the varsity girls softball team. While girls mostly use the southern field, teams share fields depending on scheduling.

Hernandez initially filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in October, when he said there was no “parity or equality” toward the girls softball team, or to “girls sports overall” in comparison with the boys teams.

“Pipes are still lead and asbestos material,” he wrote about the southern field. “Whole pipe water zones are broken and leak. Sprinkler heads are missing, broken and/or do not work adequately.”

In February, Hernandez and Griggs reached an agreement with the school district through the U.S. Department of Education over their October 2018 filing, which outlined specific steps that the district would take, such as repairs to sprinklers and fencing, removing weeds and improving the lighting.

The work was to be finished before May 31, according to the agreement, which was signed by Hernandez, Griggs and Allan Garde, the district’s assistant superintendent of business.

“A lot of it hasn’t been done,” Hernandez said, adding that homeless sometimes are now sleeping at the edge of the field. “And what they did do was past the timeline.”

About 1,400 students attend Tennyson, which opened in 1957. It is located at 27035 Whitman St.