Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Universal Response Strikes Again!

What does a disappointed (and unnamed) Colorado high school senior do when she gets cut from her high school volleyball team? She sues the school:

A female senior at Grand Junction High School who can't play volleyball because she didn't make the varsity team filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the school treats girls differently than boys.

Unlike boys who play football, girls don't have the option of playing on the junior varsity volleyball team if they fail to make the varsity team, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

Jessica Wieker's lawsuit alleges Mesa County Valley School District No. 51 discriminates against girls, which is a violation of a federal law known as Title IX that guarantees equal gender access to public education.

An after-hours phone message left at an answering service for the district was not immediately returned. Wieker's attorney, Michael Grattan III, also did not return an after-hours phone message.

Wieker also alleges the school treats girls differently by not offering as many opportunities for sports for girls and provided buses with onboard bathrooms for the football team, while the girls' volleyball team travels to games on district-owned vans driven by coaches.

Ed's Note to Disappointed Colorado High School Student: I think that the operative word here is vans. A football team (with their attendant coaches and equipment) is a much larger group of people and therefore requires a more spacious vehicle. A bus perhaps?

But the Disappointed High School Senior doesn't get that.

Actually, we think that it is more likely that she (or her attorney) senses that there is some easy money to be had. Easy money is why so many in our society resort to the Universal Response of filing lawsuits whenever schools don't decide in their favor.

The publicity generated by all these speculative lawsuits tend to overshadow legitimate concerns that often need to be addressed by the courts. The result is that all plaintiffs and lawsuits are tarred with the same negative brush.

There are many good things that have been the result of Title IX. And there have been some asinine incidences, like this one.

Earlier this year an angry parent appeared at our junior high school, and, in front of the entire girls' softball team, loosed a stream of invective against the hapless coach. All because the coach had dared to cut the parent's daughter from the team.

Our coach was distraught, to say the least. She ended-up quitting her coach's position because Howard Taft Junior High School's administration chose not to file a formal complaint against the parent.

It's too bad that us educators can't file lawsuits against overly aggressive and abusive parents.
Jenny D. is hosting this week's Carnival of Education right here.

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