Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1976 NO. 8 > Mar 17 1976

(1) Under Article XXXI, § 1 (Amendment 61) of the Washington constitution, commonly referred to as the state equal rights amendment, as construed and applied by the Washington supreme court in Darrin v. Gould , 85 Wn.2d 859, 540 P.2d 882 (1975), whenever within a school district in this state only a single public school athletic team or program exists in a given sport, whether it be interscholastic contact football or some other athletic activity, that single team or program must be equally open to participation by qualified members of both sexes.  (2) In accordance with RCW 28A.85.020, a school district may maintain separate teams for the members of each sex, but only if (a) it can clearly be shown, under all the factual circumstances involved in the particular case, that the maintenance of separate teams for boys and girls truly constitutes the best method of providing both sexes, as a whole, with an equal opportunity to participate in the sports or games of their choice and (b) at the same time, a test of substantial equality between the two programs can be found to have been met.