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    Girls Only (on field hockey team that is)

    Date: 07.14.09 | by Judge Tom.

    A high school in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania has told Mat Levine, a sophomore, that he cannot play on the all girls field hockey team.

    Levine decided to go out for the team since ice hockey is his favorite sport and his school does not have an ice hockey team.  The next best thing would be the female field hockey team.  Levine stated that the athletic director told him that boys don’t play field hockey and that he was concerned about the safety of the girls if he was allowed to play.

    Photo by Jos Dielis (Flickr)

    According to Levine, the athletic director also mentioned that Title IX does not entitle boys to the same rights as girls.  Title IX is a law that went into effect in 1972 to address sexual discrimination by working towards gender equality between men and women.  The new law created athletic programs for girls and women in school.  Prior to the passing of the law, only 1 in 27 girls played high school sports. 

    Do you think Levine should be allowed to try out for the field hockey team and play on the team if he makes it?  Should Title IX still be enforced in athletic programs since girls now make up 41% of all high school athletes, although they make up 49% of the total student population?  What do you think about girls playing on boys teams like football and wrestling?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    8 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Aaron Matthews
      Tue, 14 Jul 2009 at 08:10

      I think each sport has it’s own intricacies, but in general, if girls are afforded the opportunity to play on boys teams, boys should have the opportunity to play on girls teams. One other interesting note, the Courts in PA ruled that since the state passed the Equal Rights Amendment, the schools do not have the right to discriminate in this way. It over rules Title IX.

      For specifics; sports like football, hockey, baseball, etc are fine for girls. If they can make the team then there should be no issue with it. Wrestling and Water polo become tricky because then you enter a close physical contact. Look at it this way, a boy can be suspended for three days for looking at a girl for too long because it’s sexual harassment, but if she grabs him between the legs on the mat, she’s a hero. Somehow that doesn’t seem to uphold the spirit of non-discrimination. The key is either that there are full rights to play on either team or the girls don’t have corresponding sports to play. (It’s amazing to me that softball can hold baseball up as a standard for equality when the girls want something, but then they say it’s a completely different sport when a girl wants to play it instead of softball. They shouldn’t get it both ways, either it is or it isn’t)

      As for boys playing on girls teams, the rules should be the same – either full rights to cross the line or only if there is no comparable team for boys. Yes, even when the boys are bigger. Girls are allowed to play on boys’ teams in middle school when they’re bigger, having reached puberty earlier. Now, if they want to limit the number of girls that can play on a boys team, then they can do the same on the reverse.

      One other thing, you mention the proportion playing, but you didn’t mention the number of boys cut or forced to club teams. I find it interesting that the most quoted statistic for Title IX is how many girls are included, not how many boys are discriminated against. One of my former students found in our feeder high school, boys were nearly 20 times more likely to be cut or forced to club teams than girls. The school has 4 club teams for boys; hockey, lacrosse, inline hockey, rugby -receiving NO support from the school, and none for the girls. All of the girls teams that can be teams are supported as a sport or an activity (cheerleading, winter guard, etc.) Seems like the proportion of girls participating isn’t nearly as telling as the number of boys that aren’t allowed to because of Title IX

      Judge Tom’s response: Thank you for your comments. Title IX’s application to high school sports is an interesting issue that has resulted in many different opinions and beliefs. We appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

    • kellyann
      Fri, 20 Nov 2009 at 07:37

      there is a point there, I agree that boys may be having some troubles with the sports.. yet there are some obvious physical problems, especially in sports. Perhaps the best would be to have an equivalent, only with boys. (however this sounds alot like “Seperate but Equal…”) I feel that more importantly there are educational progams that have this type of ‘reverse racism/sexism’, as in special classes that are only offered to minority groups (mostly Science that i know of) that tend to have more oppertunities for the students (I was in one of these classes once as a ‘female’ minority and we really did alot more and received more funding) this i feel is also unfair, and these ‘Equal rights’ shouldn’t work one way… but should truly be Equal. Not only is that an issue in our schools, but in the workforce. A person who is better for the job may not get it for soemone else who isn’t as good at this particular task is in a minority group the the business/store/whatever needs to have more of. This is not equal rights in my opinion, the person who is the best for the job should be the one to get hired, with race, religion, gender and such out of the equation. Gender roles are even more difficult than race in my opinion for there ARE noticibe differences that play a role in how a person acts and can do physically. Everyone is different, so some women may be cut out for tough sports like football, but by highschool many young men are signifigantly larger and more muscular biologically so them participatig in some girls sports wouldn’t be fair to other teams, and in contact sports there is an injury factor. Face it, guys and girls are different, i think we should give everyone equal chances, just maybe on different teams with equal funding. Cross Country is a sucessful school sport where girls and boys run in seperate races, but are still part of a ‘team’ supporting their school and receiving funding as one. (also, girls are cut from sports, however perhaps more guys get cut for more guys try out?)
      Thanks, Kellyann, for your thoughts.

    • Melvin Band
      Thu, 30 Sep 2010 at 08:59

      “Tilting the Playing field” by Jessica Gavora is a must read book for those of you who want to learn about the perversion of Title IX by the our federal courts. Women’s right’s advocates have seen to it that Title IX went from providing equal opportunity for all to demanding equal participation for women.
      Dear Melvin: Thanks for letting us know about the book for anyone intertested in further reading on this topic.

    • Eric P
      Wed, 21 Mar 2012 at 08:14

      This wouldn’t happen in Europe or the Commonwealth, the European Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations support equality for all people, not just girls and women. North America has this mentality in which females have rights, and equal oppertunity ,and all males at birth are treated like animals and have no real purpouse in life.
      Thanks for your comment, Eric. It’s a rather dim view, however, that we don’t subscribe to. A full understanding of world history and current events belies this assessment of the human condition. But to each his own.

    • Eric P
      Wed, 21 Mar 2012 at 08:34

      Boys, lawyers, funding, and people all lose. The only winners are a group of girls, in which half of them do not have the intrest or desire to play field hockey in the first place, however; if a boy wants to play on the girls field hockey team, the school will require him to follow his own set of rules.

    • Melvin Band
      Wed, 21 Mar 2012 at 12:13

      Since 1972 when Title IX came into being, it became mutated by the courts who were pressured by women’s right’s groups. The law went from providing equal opportunity for all to DEMANDING equal PARTCIPATION for all. 50/50. Until is is changed,any male student who wishes to participate on a girl’s team because there is no comparable male team has the right to do so. An attornry should be hired by the student’s aprents, star a lawsuit and seek an injunction against the district.
      Your suggestion may be under consideration depending on the applicable statute of limitations. Thanks for your comment.

    • Eric P
      Fri, 23 Mar 2012 at 06:28

      I apologise for what I said, but to be honest, does the outcome of Title IX support gender equality for all students? Because not all States in the U.S regulate Title IX in the same, but similar way of equality and oppertunity, Right ?
      Dear Eric: Yes, the intended purpose of the law is to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender in public and private schools that receive federal funds. Title IX is a federal law so it applies equally to all states. However, some states have passed their own laws concerning gender equality in sports and other extracurricular events for students. For more about Title IX, click here.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Eric P
      Sat, 24 Mar 2012 at 08:37

      Thank you for the information, I can see how Title IX works, but my research lead me to something diffrent about it’s intension to create equality. Look up

      (CBS 21 reports, Male Field Hockey discrimination) on Youtube.

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