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Former West Point softball coach sues district for sex discrimination

 

Ryan Poe

 

The former head coach of girl''s softball at West Point High School has sued the school district for alleged sex discrimination. 

 

Betty Elizabeth "Libby" Forrester, of Columbus, filed the civil lawsuit Dec. 13 in U.S. Northern District Court. The school district must file a response to Forrester''s complaint within 60 days after receiving notice from the court. 

 

Forrester, who served as the assistant coach of the girl''s softball team from 2007 to 2008 and head coach from 2009 to June 2010, claims she was replaced by an "inexperienced male football coach." 

 

And, adding insult to perceived injury, her replacement, ninth-grade football coach Brian Sellers, received a raise after his promotion, bringing his annual supplemental salary up to about $3,625, the complaint says. 

 

His new salary was on the same level as the head football coach''s salary, Forrester claimed. During her tenure, she only received a $1,457 supplement annually. 

 

"The (district) gives as many supplements as possible to the male football coaches in order to keep them in the District since football, a male sport, is emphasized over softball, a female sport," she wrote to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

 

Forrester specifically called out the school district superintendent, Steve Montgomery, in the complaint.  

 

Montgomery wrote Forrester Sept. 10, telling her there were nine reasons for her demotion back to assistant coach, most of which centered around an alleged "lack of discipline." 

 

"The administration did not feel that a ''Program'' was being built as well as the fact that it would benefit your coaching skills by gaining more experience as an assistant coach," Montgomery wrote then. 

 

As at-will employees, coaches can be transferred or terminated at any time, he continued. 

 

Forrester and Montgomery did not immediately return calls seeking comment. 

 

Her attorney, Jim Waide of Waide and Associates in Tupelo, called Forrester an "outstanding lady." 

 

"It''s very unfortunate about the way she''s been treated," Waide said.

 

 

 

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