HONOLULU - An update now on a federal lawsuit against the state Department of Education. The DOE now has until January 18 to respond to the ACLU of Hawaii's lawsuit accusing it of not complying with Title IX. That’s according to the ACLU, which says it agreed to the extension requested by the DOE.

The ACLU filed the suit on December 6 on behalf of two Campbell High female students.  Title IX is a federal law requiring equal sports opportunities for boys and girls. 

DOE communications director Lindsay Chambers said in a statement on Friday: "We cannot comment on the specific allegations in the lawsuit due to pending litigation. However, the Department of Education takes this issue very seriously.

"Equitable access to a quality public education — including extracurricular and elective activities — is at the core of the Department’s commitment to student excellence and success. As part of this commitment, the Department has completed improvements to athletic facilities at the following schools and has requested $45 million in capital improvement funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 for gender equity: 

Locker Room Improvements - Kealakehe HS, Leilehua HS, Mililani HS, Moanalua HS 

New Female Locker Rooms - Kaiser HS, Kalani HS, Kahuku High & Intermediate, McKinley HS 

New Softball Fields/Softball Field Improvements (this is a list of current/newly completed fields and does not reflect all fields) - Campbell HS, Castle HS, Kaimuki HS, Kaiser HS, Kapolei HS, King Kekaulike HS, Konawaena HS, Mililani HS, Moanalua HS, Pahoa HS, Radford HS, Roosevelt HS, Waialua HS, Waipahu HS."

In response, the ACLU of Hawaii's deputy director, Kit Grant, told KITV4: "We’re pleased to see the DOE’s statement committing itself to gender equity, but unfortunately the allegations in our complaint tell a different story with respect to the DOE’s actual treatment of female student athletes that goes well beyond facilities.

We filed the class action lawsuit against the DOE after ten months of trying and failing to get it to show that it is aware of the severity of the violations, and has a plan to treat female athletes equally. Facilities are a good start, but true equity will require change in thinking, approach, and priorities throughout the DOE system. And that takes a comprehensive plan.

Our plaintiffs have suffered real harm, lowered opportunities, and even retaliation - and we’re grateful to them for having the courage to stand up and try to make sure the girls that come after them don’t have to deal with the same inequities."