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Teachers Charge Sports Sex Bias at Duarte School

February 16, 1989|SIOK-HIAN TAY KELLEY | Times Staff Writer

DUARTE — The California Teachers Assn. has announced plans to file a sexual discrimination complaint with a federal civil rights agency contending that sports programs for boys are given preference over programs for girls at Duarte High School.

The complaint will be filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights on behalf of the Duarte Unified Educators Assn. The complaint, which was mailed Tuesday to the department's regional office in San Francisco, alleges that a volleyball, basketball and track coach at the school was not rehired this year because she publicly pointed out the inequities.

The complaint says that the boys basketball teams are alloted three times as much practice time as the girls teams, and more amenities are provided in the boys' locker room. While the facilities for boys have a whirlpool, an ice machine, a washer and a dryer, facilities for the girls do not, and the boys receive new uniforms more often, the complaint says.

No Sports Funds

Diane Ross, an attorney for the state teachers group, said federal funds could be withheld from the school if the civil rights office agrees with the complaint.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday February 26, 1989 Home Edition San Gabriel Valley Part 9 Page 2 Column 4 Zones Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
In a Feb. 16 story on alleged sexual discrimination at Duarte High School, a school official said that the girls basketball team had not competed in regional playoffs for four years. In fact, the team made the playoffs in 1984-85 and 1985-86.

The school receives funds from the Department of Education for special education and food programs, but not for sports, according to John Bayless, assistant superintendent of business administration for the Duarte Unified School District.

The complaint says that Corrine DeJong lost her coaching positions after the principal, Alan Johnson, accused her of encouraging parents and students to complain about the differences in the sports programs.

During a back-to-school night in September, DeJong had told visiting parents that the boys had air conditioning in their locker room while the girls did not, the complaint says.

In an interview, Johnson said that a parent had promised to donate an air conditioner for the boys' locker room, but the family moved before it was to be installed.

"Expectations on the boys' side had been raised and dashed," he said. "I had enough money in my budget to put one in. Now I can't believe I'm being lambasted for that."

The boys' program benefits more from community donations, Johnson said. An example, he said, was the ice machine provided by the Falcon Boosters Club. He added that although the whirlpool was in the boys' locker room, girls have access to it.

DeJong continues to teach physical education at the school, where she had been coaching for five years. Bob Leach, a former coach at the school who now teaches government classes, is the girls' new coach.

Confidential Matter

Johnson said the decision not to retain DeJong as coach was unrelated to the back-to-school incident. He would not elaborate because personnel matters are confidential, he said. But he added that for the first time in four years the girls basketball team is competing in the regional playoffs of the California Interscholastic Federation.

"We've been at the bottom of the league for the last two years," he said. The team plays in the Mission Valley League of six area schools.

DeJong said her main complaint, which she said she first voiced four years ago, has been the inequity of practice time alloted for girls and boys in the gym every day.

"We get an hour, and after that the boys have it for three hours," she said.

Johnson, who said he has never heard that complaint from DeJong, responded that time is alloted on a per-student basis. While there are 45 students on four boys basketball teams, there are only 16 members on two girls teams, he said.

Some students and parents have tried to get DeJong reinstated as coach.

Robert Armstrong, a parent of a girl basketball player, collected 300 signatures on a petition appealing Johnson's decision and presented it to the school board at its October meeting.

District Supt. Robert Packard said the board supports Johnson's decision not to keep DeJong on as coach.

"It would've been fine if (Johnson) had told the parents why he was firing her," Armstrong said, adding that he thought DeJong was a good coach who was also concerned about the students.

Players' Demands

Student Cantigua Doyle, 18, said she went with three other seniors on the basketball team to Johnson on Oct. 10 and told him nobody would play for the team if DeJong wasn't reinstated.

According to the complaint, Johnson told the players he didn't care if there was a girls basketball team at the school. Johnson said he did not make such a statement.

"I told them basketball is a voluntary activity. I don't play blackmail," he said, adding that two coaches for boys were not rehired this year. "Every coaching position is temporary."

A student was later suspended for putting up flyers on campus demanding DeJong's reinstatement. Some 200 flyers were distributed on campus and in the community. Supporters made banners and buttons to wear to school. Basketball team members wrote letters to Johnson.

and Packard. "Equality and equity are two different things," Packard said. "We have equity in our programs."

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