Thursday, November 08, 2012

Evergreen answering second complaint

Erin is quoted in a recent article about Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Washington, which is going through a second review process in just over 5 years with OCR. At issue--again--is both equal treatment (namely facilities) and the distribution of opportunities.
Equal treatment claims are nothing new to us--as Erin notes. Especially prominent at the high school level has been the complaints regarding softball and baseball facilities--which often present a visible and obvious manifestation of unequal treatment. So the issues over what the baseball teams receive in the district versus what the softball teams receive are common.
Two things that struck me about this story:
One, as Erin notes in the article, is the pervasive ignorance around Title IX and its equal treatment is troubling. The lack of proactivity on the part of schools and simply waiting to be investigated before making any changes is not progress, in my mind. It does not demonstrate a commitment to equality. And it is a violation of the law for which there is little punishment beyond making the changes that bring a school into compliance--which isn't punishment at all.
Second, I was struck by the allegation that one school in the district removed the scoreboard at the baseball field rather than put one in at the softball field. While it could be because of financial reasons, a potential precedent of taking away from the boys to comply with the law is startling and reminiscent of the rhetoric around opportunities used by anti-IXers: that the law harms boys. It takes away their opportunities. And now it looks like the district is taking away from their overall experience by removing an amenity. Again, what actually occurred and what will come to bear after the negotiations between OCR and the district are complete remains unknown. But it demonstrates a lack of forethought and knowledge about the law on the part of administrators that girls and girls' sports have to answer for.