A summary of one parent’s concerns with the practices of a local school district.
Herb Dempsey

End of Paper     Return to Gender Equity Special Entries Page

Before undertaking this project, I needed to do a "reality check." My daughters had encountered what seemed to be a bunch of unequal treatment in various school programs and since I am retired I have the time to "look into it." I looked. At no time did I find anyone who is knowledgeable who had any answer to my question, "Does it seem that girls are treated like second class citizens by the local schools?" with any answer but, "Don’t tell me you are just finding out about that? or "Yes they are treated poorly, but that’s how it has always been."

I took the answers to mean that girls are, in fact, treated somewhat unfairly in the local schools, but I still hoped the difference between treatment of boys and girls was close enough that a tweak and a nudge were all it would require to make it fair. I was wrong. The further I looked into the answers, the more the questions multiplied. I found that the program is operated by old men who employ younger men who deliver a superior and well funded program to very young men. The programs are operated for men at the expense of women and young women.

That many sections of both the federal constitution, the state constitution, federal laws, state laws and administrative codes guarantee equal treatment under the law is not in dispute. What is in dispute in the series of items in this survey is whether or not the local district is guaranteeing equal treatment under the laws by a very unequal distribution of resources. This is the old question: "Which part of ‘all’ does the local school board not understand?"

Washington State recognized this unequal distribution early in the decade when the Office of Equity Education for SPI warned the local school district that the unequal distribution was unacceptable. In 1996 the matter is still left uncorrected!

The local school money is spent to create an educational environment in which girls are treated as second class citizens, offered second class access to programs and provided second class opportunities in life as a result of the treatment. At issue is whether or not the facts create an educational environment that will effectively deny full employment to girls who are given opportunities inferior to those given boys because they are served disproportionately by the local district. The issue is whether the local district is obligated to provide equal access to all of its students or, perhaps, whether the local administration can systematically deprive girls at younger ages so that they arrive at the secondary levels so handicapped that they eventually give up and don’t even try. A good example is the conversation I had with two parents, both with graduate degrees, who saw their bright, math-competent, daughter finally, in their own words, "give up and decide she is tired of trying." A second thing that seems strange is that the local district has never resolved any equity or discrimination presented under the discrimination policy of the district in favor of the complainant. I asked and that was actually the answer and I was about to become a complainant? I have to be nuts!

I stumbled around and discovered I would need some facts and so I asked for some facts. I was ignored. I asked for some facts using the Freedom of Information Act as a lever and was told by the attorney for the school district that they weren’t governed by the Freedom of Information Act. I asked for the facts under the state public information law and as I got better at asking, I got more facts.

Finally I was ready to ask some questions formally, so I used the local district’s formal process they said was designed to resolve the kinds of discrimination I was suggesting existed. What they didn’t tell me at the beginning was that no one had ever been successful using their own policy to address the sorts of discrimination against girls I found when I asked the questions.

After I had asked that the district address a bunch of things that helped to make girls and women into second-class participants in the schools, I filed even more appeals to the denials of higher and higher ranking administrators and finally I had a hearing before the local school board. They appointed a committee after telling me that neither the board nor its administrators was doing anything wrong in the treatment of girls and women.

I said, "Phooey." and filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. I thought that when the boys’ baseball team was given two very nice baseball fields, one with a $9000 outfield fence while the girls played on a single "barely improved cow pasture" we had a picture of discrimination in action. I had both pictures blown up to 30x20 inch posters and no one has been unable to tell me which one was the girls’ mud hole. The OCR/DOE complaint will not be resolved for the next three years, if then.

I said, "Phooey." a second time and forwarded all of the football schedules and soccer schedules and other athletics including baseball and softball with another complaint to the Office of Civil Rights. The girls in some sports didn’t even get one single Friday Game. I argued that if you could have a Friday Game, your parents could attend since many of them didn’t have work the next day. Your friends in the band could play for the drill team at the game and they could all spend money at the concession stand and go to the dance afterward. The boys sports had Fridays "locked up." One of the main arguments for spending lots of money on football is that football makes money. I argued that any sport that plays on Friday Night could be a money maker and that because the boys owned Friday, the district was discriminating against the girls. Again the Office of Civil Rights found the argument was interesting enough to allow it to become a complaint of discrimination. This time, however, they also found no violation of Title IX. Boys still own Friday, the dances, the drill team, the pep band and the gate and concession receipts according to the feds.

In the meantime the committee had met (I was included in the committee) and the board accepted the recommendations of the committee. The board did not adopt the recommendations of the committee, and I should have noticed the difference between "accepted" and "adopted," but this is a learning process and I still have a lot to learn. The committee recommended and the board accepted that more women coaches should be hired in sports for girls. Then the school board hired four more men to coach girls in volleyball, golf, bowling and basketball. The committee recommended and the board accepted several changes in the elementary sports program to make the treatment of boys and girls more equal. Next year’s rule book came out and the same stinking differences made girls, once again, second-class people. I hit the roof and filed a complaint under the states’ educational equity law.

The education continued as I missed a ten day deadline by 120 days. The Administrative Law Judge was very kind, but I really had screwed up big time and the complaint was thrown out. So I refiled the complaints, once again, with the local school district. I also went looking and threw lots of other items into the mix. Girls are still discriminated against. I am still being educated and the list of items below will, I am sure, grow.

The latest in this year’s local collection of complaints have now been filed. They have been appealed and we are destined to perform at the school board hearing required by district policy to be held within 20 days. Then, I thought, I would get further education. I cancelled my trip to the Olympics in Atlanta because the hearing would fall during the summer.

Several weeks passed and I finally received a letter from yet another person saying, in essence, the district had appointed yet another affirmative action/compliance officer and that the hearing would be held someday. I waited, cancelled my trip to the Olympics in Atlanta and finally asked the State’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction what I should do now. The answer, "Whatever you want."

I filed another complaint with the OSPI.

The school board has missed the deadline required in their own policies. It looks like the education I will get is not the one I expected. "Back to the drawing boards," Orville, "the darned thing still won’t fly!" If the attorney for the school board argued I shouldn’t receive a fair hearing because I had missed a deadline why should I "forgive" the board when they miss a deadline??? When isn’t, "fair," fair? When isn’t "timely," timely?

Here we are 90 days later and the school district still hasn’t offered a hearing date. What to do? Oh, well, let’s file with the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

So I filed and I asked that, since I had asked both in person and in writing for a hearing locally and nothing had happened, why couldn’t I just take either the issue of "denial of due process" or the issues of all of the complaints directly to the Administrative Law Judge? The answer was another: "Anything you want to do."

So the Pre-Hearing telephone call was held and the district indicated that if I really wanted to have a school board hearing they would be willing to meet or if I really wanted to go "de novo" at the state level, that would also be O.K.

I guess we will have a local hearing on all of the issues still in the package. I guess we will play by the somewhat complicated set of rules the attorney for the district wrote and then I guess we will go back to the state.

And so we had the local hearing in the dead of winter. The decision will follow later. The public was there, some press people will try to digest the information and decide if I am crazy, greedy or vindictive according to my answers in the interviews that inevitably follow such public events. Other curious people (and some reporters) have asked why I don’t ask for money, go on TV or protest at other meetings with picketing, etc. Those are all good questions and someone other than I will have to answer them since I just think changes should be made because it is right to change things and make them fair. I did ask the local school board, "If not you, who and if not now, when?"

The decision is in and it’s going to be business as usual. Now I will appeal that to the state and we will find out where, as a former local superintendent was fond of saying, "The bear went through the huckleberries."

The Items in the 1995-96 Discrimination in Local Schools’ Collection including the Holdovers from the 1994-95 Collection

ITEM Three of the Top Four Coaching Positions in the Top Pay Category Are for Coaching Boy’s Sports ... All Are Filled by Men
alleging that girls access to coaching and instruction is compromised by the lack of availability of top coaches since they will gravitate toward the higher paying positions which are in boys’ sports AND that girls are deprived of effective opportunities to see women in coaching (modeling.)

I asked the superintendent for the district’s position on these issues and she deferred the answering task to the local district’s personnel supervisor. He said that the district paid based on the number of hours required for the job and was willing to hire women in any category. I replied that the volleyball coach had as many hours as the wrestling coach and was paid much less. I also replied that all of the top paid coaches had "Mr." before their names and it really didn’t make sense to say the district wasn’t discriminating. Then I filed the complaint with the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education. That one was a bust because we can’t by gender-specific in a job opening because the most qualified applicant may really be a "Mr." The pay equity issue will have to wait until a "Ms." applies and doesn’t get the job.

ITEM Computer Classes
alleging more boys than girls are in advanced computer classes at one local junior high.

I walked into a computer class at the local junior high and the boys outnumbered the girls by many (six or seven to one) and I asked the principal to provide exact numbers for the obvious disproportionality. He hasn’t done so but the fact remains that girls are very much underrepresented in the advanced computer classes at the local junior high school. I will pursue the matter further by filing the more formal official demands and after some more bureaucratic stalling, I will finally be able to point to some paper and say, "I told you so." It seems it would have been easier for The local gender-discrimination enforcement administrator to have looked into the classroom and then he would have known what I already know. The reasons for the discriminatory use of the local district funds is less important to me than addressing the obvious and tragic handicap about to be paid by our daughters as they try to find meaningful and full employment in a world where computer experience decides who finds the top jobs. I might suggest, though, that providing a computer programming class composed exclusively of and for girls may allow the use of differing instructional strategies and that expert testimony is readily available to strongly suggest the success of such approaches. Unfortunately, the federal government has taken the position that such single-sex classrooms are suspect so the teaching strategies that discriminate against girls will all have to be written out of the discourse and pedagogy used in teaching in the local district.

Let’s be conservative in the absence of specifics and say that the local district spends six times as much teaching computer use to boys as girls at this level.

ITEM Math Grading Practices
alleging girls receive lower math grades than boys in elective math classes at the local junior high.

Again, this item resulted from analysis of what is definitely a skewed sample. I asked the principal of the local junior high if the results of a similar survey at the local high school would apply at the local junior high. He grabbed a few printouts and when we looked at them I found some serious questions. In four classes of algebra 1&2, 13 "D" grades were given. Of the 13 "D’s," 11 were awarded to female students and 2 were awarded to male students. In the most simple terms: 85% of the lowest grades in four sections of algebra 1&2 were girls’ grades and 15% were for the boys.

I have been assured that it is possible to study gender and grading in much greater detail, but so far no one has been able to provide the data I have requested. I then offered to sit at a computer and generate the reports myself, but I was not offered access to what should be a simple matter of "USE FIELDS" and "MODIFY REPORT." Finally we agreed and a report that will answer the need for further information has been created.

In the meantime an analysis of the math scores on the state tests shows that, while boys gained 22 percentage points between the 8th grade and the 11th grade, the girls gained only 2. The next year’s 8th grade boys gained 4 places while the girls lost 4 and during the four years the next year’s 8th graders were tested four years later and, while the boys continued to gain with 12 points, the girls posted another loss of 9 points.

ITEM Comments in Math Classes
alleging that girls receive significantly different comments in math classes at the local junior high school than boys performing at similar achievement levels.

It is the policy of the local grading computer to accompany grades with the teacher’s verbal description of the child’s performance in class. In response to a question dealing with the attitudes of staff in math classes toward girls in math classes I studied a comment sheet provided. The summary of the analysis is that if girls and boys both receive top grades of "A" or "B" there will be a difference in the accompanying verbalizations (comments) and that these are strictly gender determined.

Again, this is a very restricted analysis based on what the principal could locate in response to a limited request, but what it does indicate is clear. When girls in our sample/example elective math class did "A" or "B" work they were rewarded with the comment that they were "consistently doing high quality work" 12% of the time. More commonly, they received a comment which complimented them for having "displayed good effort and attitude" for the remaining 88% of the comments. Generally, when the "high quality work" comment was used (89% of the time) it went to boys receiving "A" or "B" grades. Conclusion, successful work is seen as the result of doing high quality work only when it is done by males. If the successful work done by females it is because the girl has worked hard and shown a good attitude.

ITEM Girls access to advanced math classes at the local high school.
alleging that the school district discriminates against girls in advanced math classes at the local high school.

According to the gender analysis filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction 52% of the students at the local high school are men and 48% are women. During the school year 1993-94, a total of 89 students entered pre-calculus classes. Of these 67% were men and 33% women. During the first semester 62% of those taking pre-calc were men and that number swelled to 73% for the second semester. The access for women in that advanced math opportunity was disproportionate and the experience in the second semester indicated the opportunities for instruction discriminated against women, as women students experienced a greatly reduced retention rate in the classes.

The next logical step was to examine the relationship to the next "higher" math course in the offerings so I requested the information for the same time period for calculus. What information I do have for the current class indicates that of 27 students in the class 10 are women and 17 are men. That is a disproportional 63% male and 37% female and is discriminatory since the access to instruction falls heavily in favor of men. In the 1994-95 school year 61 students completed AP Calculus. Of those, 59% were men and 41% women. From 1992-95, 56% of those completing calculus were male and 44% were women. In 1992-95, those completing both semesters of pre-calculus were 56% male and 44% female. If we only look at the second semester, the pre-calculus completion rates seem to indicate 60% of those finishing are male and 40% are female. This may indicate that there is a retention problem in addition to an access problem that is disproportionate. Some have suggested that if I examine the grade data by gender I may find an even greater disproportionality, but the information I have indicates a clear pattern of disproportionality and that the discrimination is exclusively based on gender. Basically twice as much is spent teaching advanced math at the local high school for boys as is spent for girls.

ITEM Math Access by Gender
alleging boys are more commonly enrolled in elective math classes at the local junior high.

This is another of the areas where information was very sketchy and when I asked for more I was assured that numbers could be made available. In the sections where I obtained data the results generally supported that boys are twice as likely as girls to enroll and remain enrolled in elective (higher) math classes.

ITEM Uniforms: Access by gender (also: access to conditioning time.)
alleging the girls’ junior high soccer teams are poorly equipped for competition in the dead of winter.

When the local administrators decided in the early 80’s to kill a gymnastics’ program for girls they replaced it with soccer.

Gymnastics is an indoor sport that is performed indoors during the winter. Soccer is an outdoor sport that is not normally played outdoors during the winter. When the district dropped the winter season indoor sport, gymnastics, they replaced it with soccer, normally an outdoor sport.

Apparently this slipped through whatever screen is in place to protect kids from abuse, but when several parents were sitting, uncovered, in 36 degree weather in sleet driven by 30 mile-per-hour winds, we decided that it was time to object to this treatment of kids continuing without challenge

Then our family went to the soccer banquet held as a pot luck in the local junior high lunchroom and we all listened as the varsity coach recounted a litany of injuries to the players. "So-and-so was not able to play for six games, but we have lots of hope for the future." "Many players were injured and unable to play, many games were nearly won."

What did we expect: the preparation for the season was cut short by weeks with the late start for conditioning and neither the season nor the equipment is designed to prevent injury? So I researched conditioning on the Web and found that sport’s medicine people recommend 6-8 weeks of conditioning before actual competition. (The position taken by the local district was that the destruction of the gymnastics program was caused, in part, by "concern for the safety of the student participants.") Coaches attending a high priced clinic with Loren Segrave (former level three U.S. A. Track and Field Instructor) and one of the top coaches in the world were told that if he were called in as an expert witness and an athlete had been injured when competing after 12 days of practice he (Segrave) would have to claim negligence on the part of the coach as 12 days is inadequate preparation.

All of the work in the long study by Dr. Stephen Rice at the University of Washington Medical School of high school athletes has reached the same conclusion: it is not possible to prepare seasonal athletes in the time allotted to do the job for girls in junior high soccer. Then we have the local junior high experience when two weeks are cut from the available time and the injury rate skyrockets. Don’t take my word for it, call the University!

Lance Harter, probably one of the top ten authorities on athletic conditioning, speaking in the largest workshop of the year in January of 1994, was clearly convinced that 21 to 28 days are required to get any benefits out of a workout schedule. The local district can hope that isn’t true, or that Harter is not an authority, or that some other one of the usual arguments will negate the reference and save us from a charge of child abuse for the indignities we have piled on the kids in girls’ soccer.

Even if we were to argue that, "If only the girls worked harder." and follow our usual approach of blaming the victims, we could not escape the additional damage caused when cold muscles attempt to maintain balance and speed over ground frozen to the hardness and texture of rough cement. Even if we were to pretend that somehow the girls just didn’t try hard enough we would have to wonder why the boys’ season in football is so much different. The boys are still injured and the season isn’t scheduled when bone-numbing cold and chainsaw winds harden muscles into easily injured cramps at the slightest break in the action. The boys in football, even though their season is basically not a winter season, are given warmer and more adaptable uniforms with optional warm-weather jerseys, optional long sleeve jerseys, raingear, etc.

I would suggest that the district’s simplistic suggestion for adding raincoats be augmented with the addition of tights, stocking caps and gloves to the optional additions to uniforms for junior high soccer in the league. Hot cocoa would also be nice as football has a concession stand and soccer doesn’t.

ITEM Access to Opportunities for Participation by Gender
Alleging that girls at the local high school are denied access to sports’ opportunities for participation that are proportional to their numbers in the general student population.

During the early 1980’s the local district canceled the gymnastics team and girls lost the opportunity to participate in this athletic event. As a result of the failure to replace this opportunity the available percentage of girls’ opportunities failed to expand from 1979-80 when boys were 65% of the total number of athletes to 1994-95 which saw boys still in 65% of the funded athletic positions.

We might accept the argument that this is all the girls want and that their needs are being met except that in each of ten elementary schools feeding this one large high school there are at least six (and sometimes as high as 10 or more) full teams of girls. When this large mass of previously experienced players hits junior high and high school we are asked to accept that these girls just suddenly stop wanting to enjoy athletics. More likely the answer to the question of where they all go is found in the words of one veteran coach, a woman, who was asked why she no longer coaches for the local district. She began rocking back and forth and finally said she was trying to remember what it felt like to slam her head into a cement wall!

The interest is still there, but the lack of support has destroyed the will.

ITEM Access to ASB Funding by Gender at The Local High School
alleging girls at the local high school are discriminated against by having disproportionate access to ASB funds as allocated.

Girls are 48% of the student population of the local high school as detailed in the gender equity report filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; yet girls are entitled to only 35% of the ASB money allocated to athletics. Even if we average all student body allocations for athletic budgets over the years from the school year of 1990-91 to the current school year we do not change the ratio of the allocations. Girls still receive 35% of the allocations while boys are given 65%.

ITEM Sports Services (Athletic Trainer) Access by Gender
Alleging that the services of the Athletic Trainer (a private contract) are disproportionately available to sports for boys and girls and that the basis of this discrimination is exclusively based on gender.

The Job Description and Needs used by local school district administrators to formalize expenditures for an athletic trainer clearly defines the role of the trainer. As a part of that description, "8. Game coverage to include local football (varsity and JV), local soccer and wrestling events." clearly defined the public exposure at competitive events to be "male dominated." Football, Wrestling and Boys’ Soccer vs. Girls’ Soccer was clearly a discriminatory intent even before the position of athletic trainer was funded. We might argue that no one knows of the discrimination, but in the September, 1995 letter from the Athletic Trainer the problem of male domination of the services was clearly articulated when he asked for more time so he could assist at some sports’ events for the girls. Since one of the reasons given for the funding of the athletic trainer was so the coach could spend more time coaching and less time tending injuries, the effect of this assignment schedule is that more men coaches have access to the services of the trainer than do women coaches. Another shade of "discrimination-by-program."

ITEM Access by Gender, Lunch
alleging that the lunch athletic program discriminates against girls.

In October of 1995 I read in the local district’s newspaper, Pride, that in a single lunch at the local junior high school 100 boys were involved in a supervised basketball program. I suggested to the principal that I would be looking forward to his development of a program to allow the advantages of athletic competition for 100 girls and he indicated that sounded like a good idea. I waited until April of 1996 and went during lunch and looked at the basketball courts and made an assessment and decided that the advantages girls would receive from athletics outweighed the advantages from sitting and talking in the lunchroom. On April 20, 1995 Norma Cantu, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, delivered a powerful speech in which she articulated many advantages gained from sports’ participation. In the spring of 1996 David Olson, Athletic Director of Pacific Lutheran University made many of the same observations and added a few of his own. Copies of both sets of arguments are widely available and based on the fact that the lunch program does not provide these advantages equally to boys and girls, the complaint of discrimination was filed.

When I filed the complaint, the program was cancelled. The argument is no longer, "Why is the program so grossly unequal?" because there is no program

ITEM "No Cuts" - Employment Access
alleging that the no-cut policies in football and wrestling result in employment discrimination against female employees.

The local district authorized a committee to study gender issues in athletics. One of the goals suggested by the committee was that the district "actively recruit female coaches in order to ensure that girl athletes have adult role models." "It is the committee’s belief that female coaches are an essential component to a healthy and successful athletic program." After stating that as the committee’s position, the matter was "accepted" by the school board. Either the board again chose to overlook the advice of this committee, the administration acted against the feelings of the board, or some compromise position that has yet to be shared governs reality in the local district. What is true is that the expansions in men’s sports as sources of employment are running counter to the goal of increasing employment and modeling available for women as coaches.

Athletics in the local district are hostile to women. Athletics are places where few women apply for coaching positions and fewer are hired. I am concerned that four opportunities to hire women coaches for girls’ sports opened in the next couple of months and in all cases the positions to coach girls’ teams were filled by men. This sends a very clear message to any women who might have thought of applying for coaching in the local district: "Don’t bother to apply since you aren’t going to be hired even if it is an opening in a girls’ sport."

The message to girls is even more devastating: "Sure you can work hard in grade school to become a superior athlete. Then you can go to junior high and try hard and become a superior athlete and go to high school and even college and become a superior athlete. But don’t bother applying to become a coach in the local district since you don’t have the qualification to coach until after you have had a sex-change operation!"

ITEM No cut access by Gender
Alleging that "no cut" policies in girls’ sports and "no-cut" policies in boys’ sports discriminate against girls.

The local junior high restricts the size of most teams to exactly what they were twenty years ago. The exception is that some new teams are added and some are lost as the years pass. The exception is that two boys’ sports, football and wrestling, are allowed to grow as more players are available. A third sport, track, which is open to both boys and girls is also allowed to welcome every participant who wants to take part. No other sports have the ability to expand as students become available.

The effect of the policy (here called "no-cut") is that while the local junior high school grew by 25.1% from 1993 to 1996, the average change in athletic participation during the 1994-96 period was 5.46%. To understand the effect on gender equity of the change in participation, one needs only to know that for the same period the increase in boys participating was 11.08%. Until we achieve a goal that allows equal expansion in both boys’ and girls’ sports, we can only believe that the present policy will produce further discrimination against girls who would like to take part in the advantages of athletics.

ITEM Identification by Gender
Alleging the lack of personal identification on girls’ basketball jerseys, which boys’ jerseys have, discriminates against girls.

While I agree that girls were frequently required to forfeit their names during the marriage process, many more young women now continue to use their names after the ceremony. One day while standing in the lunch room, the principal of the local junior high and I were discussing the identity crisis that could be created when the boys’ basketball jerseys permitted both personal and institutional identification from all directions by clearly identifying the individual by both name and uniform jersey, while girls were only identified as members of the team and did not have their names on the shirts.

The usual arguments about team vs. individual were exchanged and finally a girl wearing a basketball jersey walked by. The conversation went something like this: "I see you don’t have your name on the back of your jersey, but that boy over there does." The player, tiny and with the face of an angel, snarled, "Ya, and it really sucks!" What had been a fairly abstract and generalized discussion was suddenly very concrete and specific.

In later conversations with some of the coaches involved, the male who made the decision for the girls on the team held the position that he believed that team unity was better served if the names were not placed on the uniforms. In conversations with girls who played basketball their positions were that the situation made them feel less important than they felt the names made the boys feel. I concluded that if this decision were to be institutionalized that it was best made by someone for everyone and either names are or are not on the shirts.

ITEM Budget Access by Gender
Alleging that boys’ sports at the local junior high receive more financial allocations than girls’ sports.

According to the local district’s Athletic Director who said, in part, ("See actual budgets listed below for the 1993/94 school year.") In the material presented the boys’ cut of the budget pie was $6000 while the girls received $2000. Even the most cursory examination of this material presented yields the conclusion that boys in this program are getting three dollars for every one used to support girls’ sports. The conclusion attributed to an earlier committee report asks the local district to allow the Athletic Director to decide if this is equitable. He has been deciding for the twenty years since Title IX was written and girls are still receiving one dollar for every three spent on the boys’ programs.

Which part of "equal" seems to be causing the misunderstanding?
Which part of "all" does the local district find troublesome? As in the expression, "equal access to all" as guaranteed in the Constitution. The local policy demands the creation of "equal" programs for each gender!

If we assume that money buys something, must we conclude that the budgets are telling us that boys are worth three times more than girls? I find that the pattern of support from a student body that is nearly evenly divided between boys and girls is getting a clearly distorted and discriminating twist. The next item deals with expenditures, but since allocations are the statement of intent, we will expect that the intent will be even more clear in the actual money spent. Girls are expected to be second class participants, they are offered a second class program and theirs is a program supported in a second class manner.

In an analysis of the actual expenditures for the local junior high ASB during the 1993-94 school year, the boys’ sports received $6886 in actual money spent and the girls’ sports spent $1680. Now what had been a three to one allocation model became a four to one expenditure model!

ITEM Sports’ Expenditure by Gender
Alleging that expenditures for boys’ sports are greater than for girls’ sports at the local junior high.

Yes! And if we explore the three year spreadsheet for the local junior high for 1993-1996, we find the total of all money for sports was $31,546.99. Of this total, $23,660.50, or 75%, was spent for boys’ sports while $7886.49, or 25%, during the entire three year period was spent for girls’ sports.

This is the money that buys uniforms, balls, stopwatches and the myriad other do-dads that make a sports’ program. This is the proof of not only an inferior commitment, but of discrimination as alleged in the complaint. This is strictly a gender-based discrimination.

ITEM Sports Banquets (Location by Gender)
Alleging boys’ sport banquets more frequently go out to fancy restaurants than banquets for girls’ sports.

The local junior high says that during the 1995-96 school year, football, wrestling and boys’ basketball went to the Old Country Buffet, the Old Country Buffet and Godfather’s Pizza, respectively. Volleyball, girls’ basketball, soccer, and track banquets were held in the local junior high Cafeteria. So much for the factual merit!

I interviewed a number of parents, athletes and coaches and they all decided that when the average parent wants to show the family a treat, the family more probably goes out to eat than stays at home. There is no "high moral ground" on this one, but the standards of the community seem clear: dinner on the town is a much rarer event than dinner at home.

ITEM Elementary School Rules discriminate against girls based exclusively on Gender
Alleging that the local district’s elementary sport’s program, operated jointly by the local district and the county parks division creates a situation of gender discrimination by several rules that allow boys significant advantages by systematically retarding the development of girls even though the girls are developmentally superior to the boys at the levels involved.

The rules for last year were presented from the formal document Master Rules & Regulations for (elementary sports.), and the administration was to correct the discrimination in the rules. Then we look in the current book and find Tiny Tad Rules 3rd Grade Boys are much less specific than the section for the girls, 3RD GRADE GIRLS COACH PITCH. For the fourth grade girls we find, "Sliding not allowed (all grades). Violation will be an automatic out of the runner." While for the fourth grade boys, "Runners must slide at home to avoid a collision. Failure to slide when necessary is an out. No head first sliding unless returning to a base." Girls in the fourth grade may NOT steal bases, but the boys must! Fifth grade girls find the admonition, "Sliding is allowed when field conditions permit. Decisions to be made by the field supervisor and umpire. No head first sliding unless returning to base." Fifth grade boys, I would assume, don’t have to get permission from two local officials when they feel an urge to slide. Fifth grade boys have an infield fly rule in effect, but the girls are prohibited from using the rule.

Girls are still somehow seen as less able than boys to learn the skills at the same early ages, enjoy the practice at the same early age and are, generally, expected to shut up and accept their second-class status.

Initially the response was that the board would direct the Recreation Association to remove the offending rules. The response is now that the local district is not responsible for the discriminating rules because the School Board has contracted with the Recreation Association. This is a variation of what I call the Pilate Defense: "bring that bowl over here so we can wash our hands of responsibility."

ITEM Weight Training at The Local Junior High Is Offered de facto As a Class Exclusively for Males
Alleging that de facto segregation created when girls are not included in weight training and conditioning classes at the local junior high.

I looked into the door to the weight training class at the local junior high and saw no girls in the class. I talked with the instructor who felt this was an entirely appropriate opportunity for girls, but that their participation was not encouraged by his colleagues in the facility. Then a professional colleague of mine went to enroll her daughter and was told by the counselor that the girl did not want to enroll in conditioning because she would "just run and lift weights." The problem of access to girls seems systemic and the solution must also be determined by institutional and not personal values. This item also needs attention by the district if for no other reason than the health benefits from weight lifting are being denied girls as the situation now exists.

AND THEN THERE WERE MORE.................

ITEM Budget available to respective genders for coaching is discriminatory
Alleging that the local school district distributed the budget for the fall of 1996 according to a model that discriminates against coaches for girls.

When the local school district hired the coaches for the fall season in 1996, 72% of the budget for the season was spent on coaches for sports traditionally played by boys. This decision left only 28% of the budget for coaching to be used in sports for girls. The local district administration responded in the time-honored double-talk: "The differences in expenditure percentages are not based on the sex of the participants in sports offered boys and girls, but rather sex neutral factors such as the number of coaches needed to supervise and direct the activity, the length of the season and the number of turnouts, pay scales based upon responsibility factors unrelated to the sex of the participants, and the district's overall program offerings based upon student interest. For sports with boy and girl programs, the pay scale and expenditures are equal." The rejection of the complaint does not define how the local school district decides how someone decided the number of coaches "needed to supervise and direct an activity" or what "responsibility factors" are, but the length of the season and the number of turnouts are the same for both boys and girls and are established state-wide by the Interscholastic Activities Association. The bias that cuts 30 girls from a soccer team because there are not enough coaches in the expenditure model while adding a new coach to football to keep the kid/coach ratio stable is where we have the real disagreement. The matter was appealed.

ITEM Numbers of coaches available for sports for girls
Alleging that the local school district provides disproportionate access to coaching and instruction by using a resource distribution model that discriminates against female athletes

In the 1993-94 school year the local school district employed a total of 176 coaches. Of these, 127 coached boys and 49 coached girls. In 1996-97, the boys had 139 coaches while the girls had a total of 52. In a nation, state and district committed to equal access for each gender, that is an unusual definition of "equal!"
Once again the local district denied the allegations of discrimination using their time-worn logic that other things decided the issue and sex has nothing to do with it and once again the matter was appealed.

The Coaching Situation ( according to the district)



% OF TOTAL COACHES for boys’ sports


%OF TOTAL COACHES for girls’ sports













































ITEM The local district's geography bee is unfair
Alleging that the school district discriminates against girls in offering and operating the local geography bee.

While the local district has several buildings which conduct the local versions of the National Geography Bee fail to provide equal preparation to both genders and conduct the competition in such a way that in some schools girls are never finalists and in other schools rarely. The district produces nearly 100% male finalists. Something is wrong and has been for years without the local district remediating the situation to something more nearly equal and that is discrimination based on gender. Denied and appealed.

ITEM During the summer the conditioning room at the local high school was open only to the football team.
Alleging that when the local school district provided the weight room with supervision by an assistant football coach during June and July the district discriminated against the girls who are also athletes..

According to the district no attendance records were kept during the summer when the facility was supervised by the football staff. Also according to the district the other coaches of fall sports were notified and told the facility was available to their athletes. Yet, again according to the district, the other coaches weren't notified the facility was to be open, but coaches "just know" there is someone there and that their athletes are welcome. Simple, Ask the coaches. Simple answer, No, I didn't know the weight room was open because if I had my athletes would have used it. Even simpler answer, "Not just NO!, but Hell NO!" So I filed yet another complaint of discrimination against girls since girls really don't play football and the complaint was denied and appealed.

ITEM (And this one is weird) The local district really doesn't want anyone to be able to address discrimination anyway.
Alleging that both the Revised Code and the Administrative Code set guidelines within which complaints of sex discrimination must be handled and that the local district created a policy and procedure that makes success impossible.

In State Law complaints are filed with the superintendent and investigated by the compliance officer and responded to within 30 calendar days. If the complaint still exists, an appeal is filed with the local school board within 10 days and a hearing is set and held and a response is available within a total of 30 days. Simple: a couple of months after the complaint is filed it is done. Then we try to follow a local policy that uses school days instead of calendar days and adds another complete step to the state-defined process. Now we have a policy that could easily take four months for the first step because school is out for the summer and with some artful stalling to include Thanksgiving, the Christmas break, the mid-winter break the process drags on and on. I asked an attorney for the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction why there were no complaints filed at his level under a law that had been on the books since 1975 and he concluded no one was that persistent. After studying the system in use in the local school district, he is right! After we add: the campaign of misinformation and disinformation, the distortions and omissions when information is requested; the new compliance officer every year so everything has to start over, I agree.

So I filed a complaint about complaints with the OSPI. It is now added to the others and some day we will have a hearing and some day I will heal after the beating and then I can start again.

ITEM Girls are prohibited from competing in pole vaulting in track.
Alleging that when the local school district provided opportunities for boys to master pole vault in competition in track while denying the same opportunities to girls the district discriminates.

Boys are allowed to compete in track and compete in the pole vault but girls are denied the competition by the local school district even though the State Athletic Association indicates the competition is approved for both genders. The result is that girls from the local school district are disproportionately (read that "never") represented in pole vault competition in track meets. That is discrimination and the discrimination is based exclusively on sex.

ITEM The local school district discriminates against seventh grade girls by allowing varsity letters only in sports for boys.

Alleging that when the local school district awards varsity letters to boys in both wrestling and football but provides no sports for girls in which seventh graders can earn varsity letters that the local district discriminates against seventh grade girls.

When I asked for a list of varsity letters that could be earned by seventh grade girls I received a list of the girls who had tried out for competition in football and wrestling. None of the sports listed were traditionally open to girls. I concluded that the only way a seventh grade girl can receive a varsity letter is if she competes in sports traditionally dominated by boys. Since the district's elementary program is not co-educational and none of the sports listed for seventh grade varsity letters is offered for girls in the elementaries, girls are discriminated against either by 1) a lack of access to instruction and coaching 2) the fact that girls are not born boys or 3) girls are discriminated against by the local school district.

This is a tale being written. This is a work in progress. I no longer expect it will take just a nudge and a tweak to put matters right. I will continue to receive my education at the expense of the district’s high-priced team of lawyers, but I will demand a high quality of education. I shall try to follow the motto of the Borg from Star Trek, "We will learn." or the motto of the Texas Rangers, "No man (or woman) in the wrong can stand up against a man (or woman) in the right who keeps on coming." *

*Portions within the Texas Rangers' motto in parentheses are additions made by the author.

Return to Gender Equity Sites List

To contact the author send e-mail to Herb Dempsey

Page maintained by Martha Phelps-Borrowman