High school ordered to tear down bleachers

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High school ordered to tear down bleachers

A high school has been ordered to tear down bleachers the parents put up for the boys baseball team because the girls softball team bleachers aren't as good. Do you agree with this decision?

The U.S Education Department?s Office for Civil Rights has forced a school in Michigan to tear down a brand-new set of bleachers for its boys? varsity baseball team because the new seating is nicer than the girls? softball bleachers.

Plymouth High School in Canton, Mich., was ordered to tear down a new set of bleachers after government officials told them they?re no longer equal to the girls? bleachers. (Image source: WJBK-TV)
The raised seating deck for the boys? baseball team, which was paid for with money raised by parents, was put in place because fans who?d come to watch games at Plymouth High School in Canton, Mich., were having a hard time seeing the game through the chain-link fence WJBK-TV reported.

The parents installed the new bleachers themselves and even added a new scoreboard to the field, the station reported.

But after an investigation by government officials, which was prompted by an anonymous complaint, the school was told it had to remove the new seating because it was ?no longer equal? to the adjacent girls? softball bleachers, which have yet to get a makeover of their own.

Further, government officials said, the new boys? bleachers were not sufficiently handicap-accessible.

The school agreed to tear down the new bleachers after government officials issued a citation.

Plymouth High School superintendent Michael Meissen said the school will hold onto the new bleachers until they can come up with a plan that adheres to strict government rules and is ?fair to everyone,? WJBK-TV reported.

The superintendent also said that the school doesn?t have the money to renovate the girls? bleachers. They will, however, add a new scoreboard to the girls? field soon:

Why a High School Was Ordered to Tear Down Its Brand-New Baseball Bleachers Will Likely Have Small-Gov’t Advocates Shaking Their Heads | Video | TheBlaze.com

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This is sheer lunacy. The parents raised the money for the bleachers, the girls parents can raise money too.

We have the best boys baseball field in our state, and our training facilities are equal to a division 1 college at our local high school. Years ago our coach figured out a way to raise funds from a bingo hall. At the time he offered some of the other sports at the school to help him get it started, they declined. Now they all complain about the amount of money the baseball team gets.

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I did find an article that states they are at least saving the bleachers for when they can put some up for the girls team.

I fault the school system. They should have known about the law compliance before the parents went and did this and perhaps they could have included the softball team and their parents so the equal bleachers and scoreboard could be put on their field too.

The district should have also been well aware of handicap guidelines.

The battle over bleachers: Do high school sports facilities have - Fox 2 News Headlines.

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Why can't the girls use them? This is one of thing Title 9 was meant to equalize.

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My guess was that there were 2 different fields?

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"Jessica80" wrote:

I did find an article that states they are at least saving the bleachers for when they can put some up for the girls team.

I fault the school system. They should have known about the law compliance before the parents went and did this and perhaps they could have included the softball team and their parents so the equal bleachers and scoreboard could be put on their field too.

The district should have also been well aware of handicap guidelines.

The battle over bleachers: Do high school sports facilities have - Fox 2 News Headlines.

ITA with this. And IMHO the solution should not have been to remove the new bleachers but to find a way upgrade the girls' bleachers as quickly as possible. The fact that the parents raised the money & did the work doesn't sway me; they could have used some of that money to improve the girls' bleachers, too, maybe made it a joint effort. I can understand wanting to have a nicer field than the other schools, but the girls' field at your own school should be nice, too.

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"Spacers" wrote:

ITA with this. And IMHO the solution should not have been to remove the new bleachers but to find a way upgrade the girls' bleachers as quickly as possible. The fact that the parents raised the money & did the work doesn't sway me; they could have used some of that money to improve the girls' bleachers, too, maybe made it a joint effort. I can understand wanting to have a nicer field than the other schools, but the girls' field at your own school should be nice, too.

I disagree that the parents could not buy something nice just because the other parents did not. That would be like if there were two sisters. One worked hard, did odd jobs to earn money saved her allowance for a very long time and then bought a nice doll with it. Then the other sister who never did any extra chores to earn money and spent any money she did get on candy being all upset that the first sister could afford to buy a doll and she couldn't. Then the parents came in and took the first sisters doll away because the second sister was upset. Totally unfair IMO. The boys team worked really hard to save up the money for the bleachers. It is not their fault that the girls team did not do the same.

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It was up to the district to tell these parents what the legal guidelines were. I am certain that these parents only had good intentions and no ill will to the softball team.

It would have been nicer if all the team parents for both teams got together to raise money to get both fields in better shape.

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There is a huge possibility that the parents of the girls team did not want to participate in the fund raiser for new bleachers. Why should the boys team be penalized for working hard and earning money?

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The thing is, even if they didn't, the school has the responsibility to know the law which is that the baseball field can't be better than the softball field. The school has to provide equally.

Think of it this way...if the parents of the kids in an AP Biology class banded together to buy supplies for their classes because the school can't afford new supplies for any biology class is that fair? Would it be better to get as many parents together to raise as much money as possible and spread it out amongst all the science classes and levels?

I do feel bad for the parents. I think they worked hard and weren't given the right information which stinks.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

The school has to provide equally.

Think of it this way...if the parents of the kids in an AP Biology class banded together to buy supplies for their classes because the school can't afford new supplies for any biology class is that fair? Would it be better to get as many parents together to raise as much money as possible and spread it out amongst all the science classes and levels?

The school did not provide, the parents did.

Yes, it would be fair for parents to donate materials to a biology class. It would be no different than a teacher bringing in their own supplies to supplement a class which happens all the time.

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No actually, when it comes to school sponsored sports it doesn't matter who provides it has to be equal.

Donating tissues to a teacher is one thing. Donating new books, equipment etc. is completely wrong when it only benefits one set of a student population. It gives them an educational advantage that is not being provided to all. You cannot do that.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

No actually, when it comes to school sponsored sports it doesn't matter who provides it has to be equal.

Donating tissues to a teacher is one thing. Donating new books, equipment etc. is completely wrong when it only benefits one set of a student population. It gives them an educational advantage that is not being provided to all. You cannot do that.

I do not have a child that is in sports so I do not know if that has changed when I was in school, but it was not that way when I went to school.

So in your situation, If one biology teacher personally owned a very expensive really nice microscope he could not bring it into class and show his students because it would be unfair to the students who are not in his class? That is beyond messed up and I can not believe that it is that way. Everything is not the same in different classes between schools. One class might go on several field trip and another class's teacher might be anti field trips. One class might have a show and tell where they bring their parent in who is an Astronaut. None of the other classes in that grade would have the same opportunity.

This POV is something I truly can not understand. Life is not always going to be fair. It would exactly be like my previous example where you take away from your child that worked hard and saved her money to please the child who wasted her money. Ridiculous.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Ridiculous.

Jessica - I wanted to make sure I let you know that I think that the idea that everything has to be fair all the time is ridiculous, not that I think that you are ridiculous. In hind site, I do not think I worded that very well.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I disagree that the parents could not buy something nice just because the other parents did not. That would be like if there were two sisters. One worked hard, did odd jobs to earn money saved her allowance for a very long time and then bought a nice doll with it. Then the other sister who never did any extra chores to earn money and spent any money she did get on candy being all upset that the first sister could afford to buy a doll and she couldn't. Then the parents came in and took the first sisters doll away because the second sister was upset. Totally unfair IMO. The boys team worked really hard to save up the money for the bleachers. It is not their fault that the girls team did not do the same.

Not exactly. It would be more like if both sisters were given the opportunity to do odd jobs to earn money. One sister was given a rake, gloves, a leaf blower, and a green waste barrel. The other sister was given nothing. After 3 hours the first sister has gotten a lot of work done while the other sister has done very little. And then questioning/wondering why she hadn't done very much.

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not have a child that is in sports so I do not know if that has changed when I was in school, but it was not that way when I went to school.

So in your situation, If one biology teacher personally owned a very expensive really nice microscope he could not bring it into class and show his students because it would be unfair to the students who are not in his class? That is beyond messed up and I can not believe that it is that way. Everything is not the same in different classes between schools. One class might go on several field trip and another class's teacher might be anti field trips. One class might have a show and tell where they bring their parent in who is an Astronaut. None of the other classes in that grade would have the same opportunity.

This POV is something I truly can not understand. Life is not always going to be fair. It would exactly be like my previous example where you take away from your child that worked hard and saved her money to please the child who wasted her money. Ridiculous.

It mainly stems from Title 9 and in CA, we also have the Williams' Act. Life isn't always going to be fair but shouldn't schools strive to be equal?

Your POV seems to suggest the girls have somehow brought it on themselves that their field isn't as good as the boys'. Part of the big thing with sports is that it is very easy to get financial support for boys' teams. Not so much for girls'. A school can't condone gender discrimination regardless of the form it takes.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Not exactly. It would be more like if both sisters were given the opportunity to do odd jobs to earn money. One sister was given a rake, gloves, a leaf blower, and a green waste barrel. The other sister was given nothing. After 3 hours the first sister has gotten a lot of work done while the other sister has done very little. And then questioning/wondering why she hadn't done very much.

It mainly stems from Title 9 and in CA, we also have the Williams' Act. Life isn't always going to be fair but shouldn't schools strive to be equal?

Your POV seems to suggest the girls have somehow brought it on themselves that their field isn't as good as the boys'. Part of the big thing with sports is that it is very easy to get financial support for boys' teams. Not so much for girls'. A school can't condone gender discrimination regardless of the form it takes.

Unless I am misunderstanding the OP, the parents on the boys team raised the money for new bleachers. The parents of the girls team did not. They all had the same starting materials and the boys team went out and raised money and the girls did not. I do not see how that relates to your example. How was one sister given a rake and the other was not? How were they not given the exact same opportunities with only one group taking advantage of it?

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Unless I am misunderstanding the OP, the parents on the boys team raised the money for new bleachers. The parents of the girls team did not. They all had the same starting materials and the boys team went out and raised money and the girls did not. I do not see how that relates to your example. How was one sister given a rake and the other was not? How were they not given the exact same opportunities with only one group taking advantage of it?

Because it is so much easier to get support for boys' sports. If both teams sold Gaterade at their games to pay for new bleachers, and every person who attended the game bought 1 bottle, the boys will outsell the girls hands down. If the hit up the local businesses for sponsors, the boys will get more support. Society has placed a greater value on boys' sports. Just by being boys, they have the advantage.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not have a child that is in sports so I do not know if that has changed when I was in school, but it was not that way when I went to school.

So in your situation, If one biology teacher personally owned a very expensive really nice microscope he could not bring it into class and show his students because it would be unfair to the students who are not in his class? That is beyond messed up and I can not believe that it is that way. Everything is not the same in different classes between schools. One class might go on several field trip and another class's teacher might be anti field trips. One class might have a show and tell where they bring their parent in who is an Astronaut. None of the other classes in that grade would have the same opportunity.

This POV is something I truly can not understand. Life is not always going to be fair. It would exactly be like my previous example where you take away from your child that worked hard and saved her money to please the child who wasted her money. Ridiculous.

No, bringing in a microscope that they own is not an advantage. What would be an advantage is if one set of classes got new textbooks, new supplies (new microscopes, animals to dissect etc) when the other classes don't have access to those.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

No, bringing in a microscope that they own is not an advantage. What would be an advantage is if one set of classes got new textbooks, new supplies (new microscopes, animals to dissect etc) when the other classes don't have access to those.

The school didn't provide something new for the students. The parents did. It is just not the same thing.

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So you guys are saying that it would be better to ban anyone from raising money to get new things than it would be do allow some parents to do so even if the other parents did not want to participate.

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Parents raising money that the whole school population has access to is what they should be doing. PTO/PTA groups don't raise money only for 2nd grade, they raise money for things the whole school can use, like books for the library or family dances...things like that!

It's not about banning people from raising money...it's about educating your parents in the district about what is appropriate and not appropriate to do.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

Parents raising money that the whole school population has access to is what they should be doing. PTO/PTA groups don't raise money only for 2nd grade, they raise money for things the whole school can use, like books for the library or family dances...things like that!

It's not about banning people from raising money...it's about educating your parents in the district about what is appropriate and not appropriate to do.

Where I went to go school each sports group raised there own money. This was separate from what the school provided. For example the football was provided by the school the basic necessary things the football team needed. Anything beyond that they wanted they had to raise their own money. The sold concessions at their games, had fun raisers and so on. The marching band worked the same way. The school provided the basic needs, but anything extra we had to raise the money. We had fundraisers, sales and other events. The money the football team raised did not go to the marching band and the money that the marching band raised did not go to the football team. I was on the marching band. We travelled all over the country competing in competitions. I remember marching in the Rose bowl parade one year. We had to raise all of that money ourself. The football team raised the money they needed to buy equipment and new uniforms. It never would have worked if all raised money went into one pot and was divided equally between the football, track, bowling, basketball, chess teams, and the marching band. The financial needs of each team was different. The sport was also what each team put into it. If one year the parents all got together and said they did not want to do any fundraising that year, the sports teams that did work hard all year punish them because of the parents that did not participate.

It is very much a welfare attitude. Take from those that have worked hard and give to those that will not work. (I understand there are other reasons someone might be on welfare, but speaking generally)

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"Jessica80" wrote:

PTO/PTA groups don't raise money only for 2nd grade, they raise money for things the whole school can use, like books for the library or family dances...things like that!

Are you speaking for every PTO/PTA everywhere? I am sure there are plenty of places that do things one class at a time instead of waiting until they can upgrade every grade at once. For example buying new books for all of 1st grade this year, then all of 2nd grade the next year. I very much doubt that all schools everywhere work the way you are saying. Sure, there probably are some that do, but none of the schools I ever have been to have. I am glad because it makes no sense whatsoever.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Where I went to go school each sports group raised there own money. This was separate from what the school provided. For example the football was provided by the school the basic necessary things the football team needed. Anything beyond that they wanted they had to raise their own money. The sold concessions at their games, had fun raisers and so on. The marching band worked the same way. The school provided the basic needs, but anything extra we had to raise the money. We had fundraisers, sales and other events. The money the football team raised did not go to the marching band and the money that the marching band raised did not go to the football team. I was on the marching band. We travelled all over the country competing in competitions. I remember marching in the Rose bowl parade one year. We had to raise all of that money ourself. The football team raised the money they needed to buy equipment and new uniforms. It never would have worked if all raised money went into one pot and was divided equally between the football, track, bowling, basketball, chess teams, and the marching band. The financial needs of each team was different. The sport was also what each team put into it. If one year the parents all got together and said they did not want to do any fundraising that year, the sports teams that did work hard all year punish them because of the parents that did not participate.

It is very much a welfare attitude. Take from those that have worked hard and give to those that will not work. (I understand there are other reasons someone might be on welfare, but speaking generally)

Will not work? You are assuming the girls' softball team is lazy?

Your examples illustrate the point we are making. Band fundraisers benefit the band. Which is open to all students, yes?
Football is also open to all students (title 9).

Boys' baseball is not open to girls. Which is where the problem is. Equal access.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Will not work? You are assuming the girls' softball team is lazy?

They were not willing for whatever reason to raise their own money for their own bleachers.

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How do you know they weren't willing? Did anyone ask them? Did the school say...hey we need to keep this equal...wanna raise money?

And a BIG ha ha to welfare attitude...PUH-LEASE. School should be a place that all students have access to the same supports and materials regardless of the income of their household.

I can't speak for all PTO/PTA just for the ones I've seen. They raise money for activities for the whole school, books and stuff like that. They organize the "Box Tops" for my daughter's school and the money earned goes to equipment for the whole school.

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"Jessica80" wrote:

How do you know they weren't willing? Did anyone ask them? Did the school say...hey we need to keep this equal...wanna raise money?

And a BIG ha ha to welfare attitude...PUH-LEASE. School should be a place that all students have access to the same supports and materials regardless of the income of their household.

I can't speak for all PTO/PTA just for the ones I've seen. They raise money for activities for the whole school, books and stuff like that. They organize the "Box Tops" for my daughter's school and the money earned goes to equipment for the whole school.

The boys team parents and fans raised all of the needed money. There was nothing preventing the girls team from doing the same. If they had worked to raised the money, they would have been able to have equal.

The equation to welfare is that it is the same as taking money from someone who is willing to work to have a job and giving and giving to someone who is not willing to work and have a job. obviously I do not mean someone who is disabled and can't have a job.

I would be willing to consider new information, but everything I have to go on leads me to believe that the girls team's parents were just not willing to go out and raise the money and then were mad at the boys team because they had made did.

I doubt there are many PTF's that would not buy new books for one grade until they could afford to buy for every grade. I would expect that most PTF's would buy one grade at a time. New books for the grade that the books were the most needed one year, then new books for another grade the next year. Few places would be able to afford to do all grades at once.

For example, when I buy clothes for my girls I do not buy an entire wardrobe for all three girls all at once. I buy what is needed as it is needed a little at a time. If Brianna needed new underwear and Caitlyn did not, I would not not buy Brianna underwear because I wasn't getting Caitlyn any and I would not buy Caitlyn underwear she did not need just because I was buying Brianna some. In the same way, a school would not not buy the second grade books just because the 3rd grade did not need any. It would be too expensive to get all of the grades at once. Spread out over several years is what makes sense and what I imagine at least some schools do.

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See our PTO typically buys books for the whole school...such as the library books. They use other programs (like fundraisers) that can work for each classroom (book orders, book fairs etc. so each room benefits).

And again, it was up to the school to tell the baseball parents that they need to either spread out the money earned between the 2 fields AND/OR get the softball parents involved. That's it. End of story. It is against the law to have the 2 fields not have equal equipment.

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If this was any other protected group it would be a non- issue...

Jewish students build a nice area but Christians weren't allowed.
Black students raised $ for a fancy sports area but wouldn't let white kids use it.

Yeah that would change real quick.

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I did think of one point. Our PTO does allow requests from each teacher/grade. Equal $ given though.

My mistake. It's still equal though.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

If this was any other protected group it would be a non- issue...

Jewish students build a nice area but Christians weren't allowed.
Black students raised $ for a fancy sports area but wouldn't let white kids use it.

Yeah that would change real quick.

I disagree. If a club raised its own money and therefore had more money than another club, I do not believe it would be an issue. For example I know many schools have a student led afterschool group called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. If the Muslims wanted to ban together and make a student led Muslim group, the amount of money that each group raised for themselves would not effect how much the other group had. It would make no sense at all to take from one group and give to another.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I disagree. If a club raised its own money and therefore had more money than another club, I do not believe it would be an issue. For example I know many schools have a student led afterschool group called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. If the Muslims wanted to ban together and make a student led Muslim group, the amount of money that each group raised for themselves would not effect how much the other group had. It would make no sense at all to take from one group and give to another.

However, the FCA is open to all students. As an afterschool group, it is under different rules than a school-sponsored program (baseball, softball). Nonetheless, they couldn't build an improvement to the school grounds and limit who has access to it.

Would you be okay with having a black basketball team and a white basketball team? If so, if the black students raised $ for a new, state-of-the-art gym, with jumbotron, surround sound, the works! would you be okay with the school telling parents of the white team, "Too bad! You can't use it because you have your own gym." If the team is not open to everyone, then the facilities need to be equal.

When it comes to public schools, all students must have equal access. Just like race, religion, and disabilites are protected classes, so is gender.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

If this was any other protected group it would be a non- issue...

Jewish students build a nice area but Christians weren't allowed.
Black students raised $ for a fancy sports area but wouldn't let white kids use it.

Yeah that would change real quick.

The problem with this comparison though is the standard when it comes to religion, race or whatever else is "separate but equal" does NOT work.

However when it comes to school sports, we DO separate boys and girls. You are already starting in a place that we would never accept for race or religion.

I'm torn on this and I think trying to manage Title IX stuff is messy, sticky and never going to end well.

What about when teams raise money for trips or new uniforms? I've seen kids at the mall do this before. If one group of parents organize a fundraiser to make this happen, but the other group doesn't, are the kids now obligated to not receive the new uniforms? Or go to a tournament?

Because this bleacher thing to me would indicate yes, they would not be allowed to do this

I don't know. Sticky business to me.

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ETA: In my opinion, I think the school should only be obligated to show that a)The Parents organized this themselves and b)the softball team has the ability to do the same thing...organize a fundraiser or whatever

I think that should be proof of equal treatment. I get that the law doesn't work that way, but I think its wrong that it doesn't.

AND whoever this complainer is....they really bother me. They would rather spend their time tattling on a group of people who went through the efforts of doing this project on their own, then try to do the same thing themselves.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

The problem with this comparison though is the standard when it comes to religion, race or whatever else is "separate but equal" does NOT work.

However when it comes to school sports, we DO separate boys and girls. You are already starting in a place that we would never accept for race or religion.

I'm torn on this and I think trying to manage Title IX stuff is messy, sticky and never going to end well.

What about when teams raise money for trips or new uniforms? I've seen kids at the mall do this before. If one group of parents organize a fundraiser to make this happen, but the other group doesn't, are the kids now obligated to not receive the new uniforms? Or go to a tournament?

Because this bleacher thing to me would indicate yes, they would not be allowed to do this

I don't know. Sticky business to me.

That's just it though. We wouldn't stand for inequality if this was any other protected class. We shouldn't stand for students being denied access or use of equipment on schools property solely because they are female.

Ultimately, once it was donated to school, it no longer matters who paid for it. It became school property and thus subject to title 9 requirements.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

That's just it though. We wouldn't stand for inequality if this was any other protected class. We shouldn't stand for students being denied access or use of equipment on schools property solely because they are female.

Then the solution would be to not separate boys and girls in team sports as that is the only way to make them 'equal'. THats my point, history has proven that "separate but equal" does NOT work. And Title IX is built aroudn this idea that separate but equal can work. But the truth is, no one wants co-ed everything sports.

Ultimately, once it was donated to school, it no longer matters who paid for it. It became school property and thus subject to title 9 requirements.

Like I said, i get thats the way the law works....but i don't agree with it.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

However, the FCA is open to all students. As an afterschool group, it is under different rules than a school-sponsored program (baseball, softball). Nonetheless, they couldn't build an improvement to the school grounds and limit who has access to it.

Would you be okay with having a black basketball team and a white basketball team? If so, if the black students raised $ for a new, state-of-the-art gym, with jumbotron, surround sound, the works! would you be okay with the school telling parents of the white team, "Too bad! You can't use it because you have your own gym." If the team is not open to everyone, then the facilities need to be equal.

When it comes to public schools, all students must have equal access. Just like race, religion, and disabilites are protected classes, so is gender.

I would never be in support of separate teams for black and white students!

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And not to sound like a real pessimist (I am one though) but favoritism of boys sports over girls is not going to change from laws like Title IX. Title IX doesn't change cultural views, it simply tries to compensate for cultural views, unsuccessfully in my opinion (like i said separate but equal is not a real possibility!) I'm honestly not sure what the solution is to get people to have as much interest in girls sports as they do boys. But as someone who has 4 girls, i don't think taking stuff away from the boys (especially stuff parents worked to get themselves) accomplishes much of anything. It doesn't make people value women's sports more, it doesn't give anyone more opportunity. It just makes people bitter and angry.

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In our school dist we have a lot of groups using our schools facilities, like club ball teams. I believe that is how the baseball team was able to get money for their awesome facilities.
And last night my dad was tellling me that the boys team or the community baseball association (my dad is on the board) had offered in the past to buy nicer bleachers for the softball fields and they asked them to forgo the bleachers, instead asking the association to improve the field quality to make playing in the rain easier.

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I wonder why the girls team could not just use the same field as the boys team until such a time that the girls team could raise the money for the upgrades? That makes more sense to me than tearing it down if it could be made Handicap accessible.

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It seems like to me they could have given the school a certain amount of time to upgrade the girls field instead of making them take them down. Even if they are able to put them back up later it is still going to cost extra to take them down, store them and then put them back up. It seems like that money would be better spent on upgrading the other field.

Not that we would expect the government to do anything that would make sense.

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I was trying to find that background. All I could find was that the school was issued a citation. Anyone have a link on what that citation was?

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I wonder why the girls team could not just use the same field as the boys team until such a time that the girls team could raise the money for the upgrades? That makes more sense to me than tearing it down if it could be made Handicap accessible.

Girls fields and boys fields are VERY different. Boys fields are a lot farther between bases and from the home plate to the pitchers mound.