Friday, March 07, 2008

Long Beach gymnasts win back their space

A federal judge has ruled that the folks at Wilson High School who moved the the gymnastics team and their equipment out of a dedicated facility at the high school to make room for aerobics equipment (for PE classes) and weights (to be used primarily by boys' sports teams--though why only boys are using weights is questionable but alas a post for another time) violated Title IX.
This is a preliminary decision. The judge is waiting for more information to issue a final judgment. (My guess is that it will hinge on whether the school has to pay for the damage to the equipment--especially the spring floor--that occurred during the moving process.)
The gymnasts and their parents are happy, of course, and probably pretty glad they did not accept a last-minute pre-trial offer by Wilson High School that would have paid for the use of a private off-campus facility and transportation to and from that gym. This part of the story has been somewhat buried but it important, I feel, because it shows the parents' and gymnasts' commitment to equity. The off-campus facility is, from the way it has been described, a superior facility with more amenities. But the gymnasts wanted their rightful place on campus. They wanted to remain a visible part of the school's athletic community. And they seemed to be able to see the injustice in having the only dedicated facility for women on campus taken away and given to the boys. The private facility may be bigger and better equipped but they saw beyond the perks to the larger issue of fairness.