Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sticking It To The Boys

Back in the day, there was quite a fuss at our old high school when a girl wanted to play on the boys soccer team. There was no soccer team for girls at Wilde Lake or any county school at the time. We even had a cameo on one of the newscasts saying we supported her right to try out for the team. Our memory is now hazy whether school officials banned her from play or whether she simply didn't make the squad, but she was tough and determined, no doubt about it.

Now we read in the Sun that a boy at River Hill wants to at least practice with the girls field hockey team. Luke Chopper had already resigned himself to not being able to play in games, but he signed on a manager in hopes he could at least swing a stick in practice.

Apparently, that's a problem, too.

Mike Williams, the coordinator of athletics for Howard County Public Schools, said TitleIX, the federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, was an issue.

"When we looked at what we're trying to do to comply with TitleIX, it was a situation that would have definitely led us toward noncompliance. That was just one issue. There are safety issues along with it," Williams said.

Chopper, 14, said he just wants to play.

"I've been playing since I was about 6, and I kind of want to keep it going. I've been playing for so long, and not being allowed to play makes no sense," said Chopper, who learned the sport at the Mater Amoris Montessori School in Ashton and will play for a boys team at the U.S. Field Hockey Association's national tournament Thanksgiving weekend in California.

Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said the decision whether to allow boys to play on a girls team is left up to officials in each county, but boys cannot play in regional and state field hockey playoffs.

The state policy was contested in federal court in 1990 by a boy who wanted to play field hockey in Cecil County, and the court sided with the MPSSAA, Sparks said.

Mom told the Sun she is considering legal action.

No comments: