Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Don't you dare complain!

We mumble and grumble--sometimes more loudly than at other times--when schools get praised by the community and media outlets for taking some action that appears to be making a situation better for female student-athletes (new softball field, addition of teams, renovated locker rooms) when what they're really doing is simply following the law and ending (some) discriminatory practices.
But when the media perpetuates backlash, well then you get a talking-to.
Mark Goodman, writer for out of Woburn, Massachusetts is not the only--just the latest--purveyor of Title IX backlash. Covering the Middlesex League, Goodman questions whether the hockey teams in the league will have to alter their practice of scheduling doubleheaders in which the girls' teams play first, followed by the boys' contest, the majority of the time. (Despite popular sentiment that everyone is fine with this arrangement, they do need to alter their scheduling practices.)
The question arose because the basketball teams in the league recently changed their game scheduling practices after a parent complained about the discrimination inherent in always putting the girls as the warm-up act in doubleheaders. Some people are not happy about this change citing damage to the school community. My guess is that the people who are happy are not so vocal in their support. Perhaps because people attack those advocating for equal rights, including reporters like Mark Goodman, who wrote: "all it takes is for one person to get bent out of shape and threaten legal action."
A parent is not getting "bent out of shape" when he or she asks for the school to provide equitable treatment to its female students. What that parent is asking is that the school comply with the law. A parent doesn't even need to "threaten legal action" because anyone can file a complaint with OCR. Anyone. An OCR complaint--even if it's just based on scheduling--can trigger a full investigation into all aspects of athletics in a district. All aspects: facilities, opportunities, equipment, coaching. And that will have administrators bent into all sorts of shapes.