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Baseball coach sues LAUSD, alleging retaliation for urging parents to file Title IX complaint

Former LACES baseball coach James Washburn is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District for whistleblower retaliation, retaliation for a Title IX complaint and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Also named in the suit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court were LACES principal Kimberly Lesure and assistant principal Lisa Deross.

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According to the lawsuit, Washburn, who was hired in 2016, warned school administrators that it was out of compliance with Title IX gender equity requirements in that the softball team had its own field while the baseball team did not. He encouraged a group of parents to file a Title IX complaint with the district in April 2018 after they had complained to him.

LAUSD investigators rejected the complaint. Parents appealed to the California Department of Education. The state in August “found that LAUSD’s findings of fact were not supported by substantial evidence and failed to complete a full investigation,” according to the lawsuit.

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Washburn was fired two weeks later under false pretenses, the lawsuit alleges.

Filing Title IX complaints in LAUSD have usually involved lack of facilities for girls. But coaches in baseball at several schools have long complained about lack of facilities on their campuses.

LAUSD had not been served and was unable to comment, a spokeswoman wrote in an email.

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