Help for the Trenches

Linda Purrington (
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 10:02:39 -0800

The real help that exists lies buried in your state's educational
code, for one thing: in California we have a fairly good education code
in which students can be disciplined and eventually separated from the
school for repeatedly aggressing the other sex (this is a clearer
formulation than sexual harassment, which most people think has to
involve sex). The idea is to kick out the aggressors. Of course, this
may leave you with a single-sex school :) In addition, there is the
fact that Title IX requires the school (you, plus the rest ofthe adults)
not only to do something to stop the mess, but also to do so
effectively. In other words, my daughter's fourth-grade teacher, on
being told that she had been beaten up by a much larger boy, told them
both to go into an adjacent room shut the door, and work it out
together. this is not highly effective discipline. It very often
results in worse and then the school recommends home study to the girl
and her parents. This is double victimization and robs the girls of her
Actually, you sound like an honest teacher wrestling with the same
situation the girls wrestle with. And you're much bigger and have
authority. It really is a matter for the National Guard, you know; it
isn't even especially humorous to find that girls who are raped here in
Petaluma are today (March 1998; quite specifically now) being pushed out
of the school system, which chooses not to defend their right to their
education and social support. Yes, and the activists who might help also
come in for retaliation in every case I know. It is only the social
tradition of trivializing women to think that the National Guard is not
a pertinent demand.It is a radicalizing sort of place to be; because
your job and your ethics are both on the line. In our case, we got help
from the lunch and playroom aides--they didn't get enough money to buy
their quiescence. Yet a leader of the school district after the cases
were launched went to speak in the state capital with national
educational bigwigs and blandly announced that the problem with sexual
harassment in Petaluma was the "6-dollar-an-hour lunch aides" who just
didn't understand Title IX.

Linda Purrington <>

Roger Crabtree wrote:
> I teach middle-school physical education to classes made up of males and
> females. As we prepare to schedule students for next year's classes, I
> am again struggling with the gender make-up of my classes. It is very
> difficult to allow for equal success and participation when a class is
> overwhelmingly made up of stong-willed and strong bodied males. An
> earlier comment, "to call in the National Guard" if necessary to make
> educational gender equity work made me smile as it is near the truth.
> I am in the trenches here and requesting back-up...please suggest
> books, summer conferences, inspiring kicks in the pants, or any other
> ammo. Please spare me long philosophical or legal debates - give me the
> short and dirty version of gender equity in PE as that is all I have
> time to digest.
> "Roger Crabtree" <>
> _________________________________________________
> Tim Flinders wrote:
> >
> > Linda: I think the single sex academy experiment should be allowed
> > continue without court challenges so that we can study them and find out
> > just what effect they do have. If they turn out to benefit both genders,
> > than I think the single-sex option should be allowed within the public
> > school setting in ways that do not violate Title IX.
> >
> > I am not so sure that I share the AAUW's concerns (and I am an AAUW
> > member) that single sex education would result in the disproportionate
> > allocation of resources towards the all-male schools that was true in the
> > pre-Title IX era. These schools would be under a level scrutiny (from both
> > the public and the state) that simply didn't exist in those days.
> >
> > I'd also like the debate on single-gender schools to shift from the
> > all-or-nothing concerns that characterize the current discussion, to
> > looking at ways within our current mixed-gender system for creating
> > opportunities (daily, weekly, occaisionally at least) when boys and girls
> > can be in single-sex settings. Having taught gifted elementary students for
> > twenty years, and once or twice (by serendipity) under single gender
> > circumstances, I believe strongly that there are defininte advantages for
> > both boys and girls to be with their own gender, at least part of the time.
> > I wish there were easier ways to accomodate this, short of total
> > educational reform.
> >
> > As an educator, I continue to work within the traditional
> > setting for equity reforms. But were I the parent of a daughter, and had
> > the wherewithal, I'm not sure I'd send her to a public mixed gender school.
> > For whatever reasons (I haven't looked carefully yet at the recent AAUW
> > report), women from all-girls schools achieve higher and find their way
> > more readily into positions of influence and authority, than their
> > mixed-gender counterparts. Were I a parent of a daughter, at this point in
> > time anyway, I'd be looking (regrettably) for a good all-girls school.
> >
> > Tim Flinders <>

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