The anonymous donor who gave $10,000 to Los Alamitos High School for the "general welfare of male students" agreed Thursday to make the gift available to all students after the school board began to look into its legality.
"Though the donor would have preferred to use [the money] for male students, he or she recognized the problems it would cause" and "didn't want to cause any difficulty," said Lorene Gonia, Los Alamitos Unified School District assistant superintendent.
Gonia said school board members were impressed by the size of the donation when they accepted it Monday and didn't realize it could violate civil rights provisions that require equal financial assistance for both sexes.
If financial assistance at a school is disparate, school officials must have a substantial justification for it, legal experts say.
While the school could probably show that it had equal financial help for female students, Gonia said, it would be "a lot of paperwork." To avoid that, she said, the donor agreed to make the money available to everyone.
Gonia would not identify the donor, who she said is "very interested in remaining anonymous."