Adapt-a-Skit Kit for gender equity

From: Linda Purrington (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 09:55:06 EDT

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    Adapt-a-Skit Kit for gender equity in the schools
    > Copyright l996 Linda Purrington, Title IX Advocates,
    > Please use freely, adapt as needed; and give
    > credit to the source.
    > The following script suggestions were written to help solve and prevent
    sexual discrimination and harassment in U.S. schools.
    > To provide an equal opportunity for education, schools must prevent
    > discrimination that blocks students' ability to use their education.
    > There are two ways of doing so: You can provide vicarious learning to
    > the perpetrators and bystanders through punishing the perpetrators and
    > providing clear consequences for discriminators (via policies,
    > procedures, etc.). Or you can provide vicarious learning by teaching
    > about the ethical, legal, and psychological consequences of
    > discrimination. Both patterns work, if consistently enforced or applied.
    > Education by itself is not effective; nor is punishment without drawing
    > the lessons for everyone else.
    > Second, there is a tendency to forget the power gradient in all forms of
    > discrimination: People tend to blame victims for their own
    > victimization, to say the girls need to be more assertive, the students
    > do it to each other, the girls are more vicious than the boys, and the
    > school adults are not responsible. The teachers and administration are
    > in fact the most powerful people in the school system. They are far
    > better organized and educated than the parents. Research shows that
    > sexual harassment of students is done, in about 20 percent of the cases
    > reported, by teachers, administrators, and other school adults. These
    > are the bad apples that role-model sexual discrimination. In addition,
    > the rest of the harassment, student-to-student, takes place in
    > classrooms, hallways, playgrounds, and other open areas presumably under
    > adult supervision. The students learn a hidden lesson from the adult who
    > stands by and does nothing or silently abets the cultural status quo.
    > Before the students can learn how to live with one another, they must
    > see role models who do not discriminate and victimize other people; who
    > in fact stand up for and help others. Adults need to be those role
    > The following incidents have been gleaned from real cases all across the
    > United States; each shows the crucial role of adults in the dynamic of
    > discrimination. Each is followed by one possible course of events that
    > would help handle and prevent discrimination in that environment. Adapt
    > for your audiences.
    > Place: Not far away, in a school.
    > Early in the morning, two parents stand at school bus stop; kids pile
    > in, bus roars off. Parents read a newspaper, article about a school
    > conference; educators place blame for in-school sexual harassment and
    > discrimination on bad parents and bad peer influences.
    > The parents comment on how their kids seem to be bringing home problems
    > from school.
    > Commentator introduces, briefly, the heroine and her friends, the
    > principal and the teachers, and all the rest of the kids, who serve as a
    > sort of Greek chorus, watching and reacting to the main action. They may
    > hold up signs to show location, etc., and to comment on the action.
    > What follows is a series of incidents, roughly sketched here, to be
    > fleshed out by the kids/actors; there should be at least three
    > incidents, and probably no more than five.
    > We recommend presenting each incident with a solution, a positive
    > action, based on the law and gender equity experience.
    > Incident 1:
    > Kids stream into the gym for a volleyball or basketball game; they greet
    > their coach, and the rest of the kids pile onto the "bleachers."
    > The heroine goes out with the first string and shoots a couple of shots;
    > the coach doesn't like what she is doing, and calls her off the court.
    > She sits down on the bench in a huff; he puts his arm around her
    > shoulder, and she tells him, "Get your hands off me."
    > He gets angry, and holds her until she bursts into tears (or slaps him).
    > Then he says, "That's it. You're benched until you can take discipline."
    > She stalks off the court; the boys scatter onto the court, taking it
    > over, grabbing the balls. The girls have bunched up around the heroine,
    > consoling her; now they stream back onto the court and chant, "No means
    > no, wherever I go!"
    > The next day the coach says she will not get on the team because she
    > can't take discipline.
    > The girl's father calls up and says that that is retaliation, and he
    > will have to report it to the Office for Civil Rights unless the problem
    > is cleared up.
    > The coach says he never meant to discriminate, and can now see the
    > girl's point of view.
    > Incident 2:
    > A class of students is working on microscopes in the science lab.
    > A male teacher comes through, touches a girl's neck.
    > She squirms and says, "Get off me!"
    > He insists, laughing.
    > Finally the girl says loudly, "You better stop, my father's already mad
    > at you!"
    > He drops his hand as if it had been burnt, and says, "It was just a
    > joke, we were having a little joke."
    > The girl says, "Well, no, actually-you were harassing me."
    > She goes off to the pay phone and tells her mother what happened-not
    > making a big deal out of it, just as part of telling her she will need
    > more money for lunches tomorrow.
    > The mother calls the teacher and tells him that it is important for
    > girls not to have the experience of being unable to get a man to stop
    > touching her.
    > The next day the principal sets up staff development workshops to teach
    > staff how to adapt to changing conditions under the law of Title IX.
    > Incident 3:
    > The math teacher has the class form into two teams--boys and girls.
    > The heroine speaks out: "That's illegal."
    > The teacher says, "You be quiet, I know the law, and this is fine."
    > The girl speaks out again, "My mom says it's illegal."
    > Teacher sends her to the principal's office; the principal says she
    > should stop criticizing and go learn something .
    > All the watcher/kids hold up signs and say, "We are learning something,
    > Yup, we sure are!"
    > The next day the girl brings in her cousin, who is a Title IX lawyer, to
    > explain the law: no school activities may even be gender segregated
    > unless for a bona fide reason, such as bathrooms and contact sports.
    > This includes any activities that take place on school grounds or
    > facilities, even though they are not part of the school program.
    > Incident 4:
    > A middle school girl is practicing shotput. A boy comes over and tries
    > to push her away from her spot on the line, saying it belongs to him.
    > She stands her ground. The teacher standing nearby does nothing. The boy
    > goes tearing off, sees a gopher pushing up a pile of dirt on the
    > playground. He throws the shot ball, bashes the gopher's head partially
    > in, picks it up and tears the head off, and then flings it on the ground
    > and stamps on it. Some boys cheer, some girls scream. The teacher give
    > the boy l0 extra credit points. [Remember-a real incident.]
    > Another teacher sees the incident, brings charges against the teacher to
    > the teacher's union. The principal expels the boy. The school
    > psychologist recommends expelling the teacher and providing counseling
    > for the boy.
    > Incident 5:
    > A history class.
    > The boys harass a busty girl by calling her cow, and mooing loudly as
    > she sits down, stands up to sharpen a pencil, raises her hand to answer
    > a question.
    > The history lesson is about the Nazi government and the Vichy regime in
    > France; throughout the lesson, the boys harass the girl and the teacher
    > never looks up or intervenes for her.
    > At one point the teacher puts a definition on the board: "A collaborator
    > is someone who helps commit a crime, sometimes by just not interfering."
    > At this point the kids in back row hold up signs that say, "Oh, really?"
    > and that have light bulbs on them.
    > The heroine says, "Including teachers who don't help girls who are
    > sexually harassed in their classes?" All the kids turn around so that
    > the focus is on her and the teacher.
    > The next day the parents of the girl announce that as this has gone on
    > all year and they have gotten no help from the principal in providing
    > protection for the girls in the class, they are now filing a report with
    > the Office for Civil Rights, and if a hostile environment for girls'
    > education is found to exist, they will be suing the school district for
    > damages and to force change in enforcement of Title IX.
    > Incident 6:
    > A girl goes into the bathroom and sees graffiti that say she's a puta (a
    > ho), and does animal sex acts.
    > She complains to the principal, who says, "Look on the bright side, it's
    > in Spanish, no one will understand it."
    > She calls the Office for Civil Rights, and an investigator comes out and
    > tells the principal that this is the fifth time the OCR has been called
    > out to the school for a combination of Title IX (gender equity) and
    > Title VI (racial equity) violations. Now the OCR is going to recommend
    > that the principal be removed, and that the school's federal funds be
    > impounded until all the administrators receive staff training on how to
    > help girls of minority racial-ethnic background get equity.
    > Incident 7:
    > A playground. The girls are playing basketball or handball. The boys
    > grab the ball, trip the girls, who call out to the teachers, who turn
    > away from them, ignoring them.
    > Finally the girl gets angry and hits a boy.
    > The teachers immediately turn around and scold her and send her to be
    > benched as punishment.
    > The other girls bunch up, protesting, and finally come in a group to the
    > parent aides who are helping patrol the playground, to ask that the
    > girls be let off and the boys benched instead.
    > Several of the parent aides confer and decide that the girls' punishment
    > wasn't fair, and bring their concerns to the PTA meeting.
    > The parents decide to hold a conference with the teachers to explain the
    > law on gender discrimination.
    > Incident 8:
    > A girl has been raped over the weekend; now she must return to school.
    > Some of the kids ask her if she liked the experience, and taunt her.
    > She tells the counselor that she wants to commit suicide.
    > The counselor says, "Don't; let's deal with it."
    > The principal agrees, and the taunters are suspended for two weeks,
    > required to write a public apology, and do l0 hours of community service
    > for a local rape crisis center.
    > The taunters do the required, but then continue to retaliate against the
    > girl.
    > She says she wants to go on home study.
    > The counselor and the principal say no, they will expel the taunters and
    > recommend that they go on home study instead.
    > This is done, and the girls form an escort for her to all her classes,
    > until she feels better-this could be for a year.
    > Incident 9:
    > It is lunch hour on the quad. A large group of students are baiting a
    > boy for " being gay."
    > He tells a friend in the drama department.
    > The friend says, "Oh, I've seen how those kids deal with it when their
    > classmate gets bald from chemotherapy for cancer-everyone shaves their
    > heads."
    > The next day, the harassers in the quad start up again, only to be
    > surrounded by a huge bunch of kids wearing wild clothes and sporting
    > signs that say, "Guess what? We're all gay! We're all foreigners! We're
    > all girls! Hey, man, we're anything you don't like!"
    > They chase the harassers out of the quad, then sit down and have lunch.
    > Written by Linda Purrington, Title IX Advocates,
    > Please use these skits freely, adapt as needed; and give credit to the
    > source.

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