Coach Brice Flenory huddles with members of Obama Academy’s middle school girls’ basketball team before their game against Mifflin PreK-8. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)
Wearing a pink blazer and kitten heels, 10-year-old Charlotte Murphy marched into the office of then-Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane to argue that the district wasn’t offering girls equal sporting opportunities.
During the 2010-11 school year, Murphy’s school Linden Elementary was repeatedly canceling girls’ basketball practices so boys could have the court. There was even talk of ending the girls’ team.
“I was just so-so angry,” said Murphy, now 17.
After the meeting, Lane mandated all district elementary schools with a boys’ basketball team to have a girls’ team. That mandate lives today — intended to work in concert with federal statute Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program that receives federal funding.