HONOLULU - The state Department of Education is reviewing a federal lawsuit filed on December 6 by the ACLU. It has three weeks from the date the complaint was served, which was December 7, to respond; that date is December 28.

The suit alleges the DOE has, in the last 40 years, failed to give girls equal playing opportunities as boys. This is a look back at a timeline of what the state has done in the past with Title IX.

Hawaii's public high school girls don't get as many resources and opportunities to play sports as boys, according to the federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Hawaii on behalf of two female senior athletes at Campbell High.

ACLU executive director Josh Wisch sums up, "This is about the female athletes at Hawaii's public schools. We just want to make sure they have the same opportunities as everybody else."

It's the latest move in a conversation that started ten months ago. Wisch explains, "If you look at the demand letter we sent in February, we wanted a plan for compliance with Title IX by the beginning of the school year."

If you think ten months is a long time, this issue has been unresolved for 40 years. Title IX was enacted in 1972.

The courts gave all US school districts a few years to come into compliance. Then, ACLU staff attorney Wookie Kim says, "A federal agency in charge of civil rights compliance came to Hawaii assessed its compliance for Title IX and found the DOE was not in compliance for Title IX. That was in 1978."

In 1994, State Representative Jackie Young sent a letter to the DOE expressing dismay about the gender inequities. In 1999, the state legislature proposed a gender equity law.

Kim says that law was never passed because "Gov. Cayetano vetoed it because the DOE expressed it was in compliance with Title IX already. That turned out to be not the case."

In 2000, the legislature passed The Gender Equity in Athletics law and formed a three year state commission to study the issue. Its final report in 2003 noted "minimal progress" was made regarding gender equity. Kim explains the commission's role: "They were tasked with monitoring Title IX compliance with DOE and it was the same story."

In 2010 the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Baldwin High School for Title IX violations. A federal judge granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The DOE settlement agreement required the DOE to, among other things, improve and expand existing girls' softball facilities, and build a new girls' softball practice field on par with the boys' field.

Now, it's tired of lip service from the DOE. It's asking the court to force the DOE to hand over a real plan.

ACLU legal director Mateo Caballero outlines what he'd like from the DOE: "Participation data, what are the plans of their schools, what is their Title IX compliance plan in the long term."

We asked the DOE for comment on this story and were told, "We will kindly decline as we're unable to provide information or a comment due to pending litigation."