May 14, 1998
By Linda Gorman
“The pursuit of happiness” used to be considered one of the rights of American citizenship. According to the Declaration of Independence, governments that interfere with the right are supposed to be altered or abolished. Now that the Jefferson County School District has gone along with a U.S. Office of Civil Rights decision to penalize boys for their interest in athletics, the Jeffco schools are going to have to start explaining why Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence doesnt apply in Jefferson County any more.
The ukase in question requires that school districts ensure that girls and boys participate proportionally in school sports. In Jefferson County (as in the rest of the real world with the federal government ignores), more boys than girls are pursue happiness by playing interscholastic sports. The boys in Jefferson County want to start interscholastic lacrosse teams. But allowing boys lacrosse would result in the proportion of boys playing sports more than 2% higher than the proportion of girls doing so. Because “too many” boys would be playing sports, the U.S. Office of Civil Rights would find the district “Not In Compliance” with the Offices interpretation of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.
The Jefferson County School District administrators, given the choice between their own happiness and that of the boys entrusted to their care, have apparently decided on a policy of “tough luck Charlie.”
In fact, the plainly crazy U.S. Office of Civil Rights interpretation of Title IX reflects modern feminisms animosity towards mens sports, its ungovernable urge to lay waste existing institutions, and its apparently irremediable statistical imbecility, not the law itself. According to Elizabeth Arens, writing in the November/December 1997 issue of Policy Review, Title IX “explicitly states that nothing within the law should be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist in the numbers of each sex participating in a certain activity.”
But feminists and their lawless bureaucratic allies worship at the altar of numerical equality. So despite the clear anti-quota language of the law itself, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) pretends that the law requires quotas. So in 1979 the OCR made a “policy interpretation” that requires that men and women participate in school sanctioned sports in proportion to their enrollments. So if half the school is female, half the players on interscholastic teams have to be femaleeven if most girls dont want to play interscholastic sports, and most boys do.
Since 1992, the U.S. Office of Civil Rights has begun enforcing proportional participation standards in U.S. colleges and universities with a vengeance. Overwhelming data suggest that men are more interested in sports than women, and that individual interest in participating in most team sports declines with age. In 1993, 23% of college women and 15% of college men were over 35. This disparity alone virtually ensures that any demand for strict proportionality based on enrollment will discriminate against men.
In the face of such objections, only a rabid feminist or a statistical idiot could possibly insist that the proportional participation requirement helps civil rights. But cowardly college administrators chose to discriminate rather than fight. According to Arens, calculations based on the NCAA Gender-Equity study show that slots for women in college sports increased by 5,800 between 1994 and 1997. Slots for men dropped by more than 20,000. Desperate for parity, schools are eliminating mens baseball, golf, tennis, gymnastics, swimming, and wrestling while sanctioning things like bowling as “emerging sports” for women.
Encouraged by the lack of resistance, the extremists now have high schools in their sights. It is wrong to tell Jefferson County boys that they cannot play sports simply because they are boys.
School districts have no problem allowing encouraging politically correct political activismsuch as the recent campaign by some Denvers West High School students for unconstitutional censorship of tobacco advertisements.
If the Jefferson County School District administration had the slightest trace of the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, the administration would be leading the students in a fight against the federal bureaucracys illegal discrimination. But instead, Jefferson County School officials have chosen to meekly follow illegal federal orders, blithely sacrificing the boys in their care to trendy feminist idols.
Linda Gorman is a Senior Fellow at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, https://i2i.org.
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