RSU 3 board right to carefully consider field hockey request

By The Republican Journal Editorial Board | Dec 19, 2019

We were pleased to see the directors of Regional School Unit 3 taking their time to consider the request of a male student in the district to play on the Mount View Middle School field hockey team. See the story on our front page for the details of the case.

On the face of it, the very equity women and girls have long sought from school sports programs seems to demand that when a boy asks to play field hockey, a way should be found to allow him to play. And at the end of the day, that may be the conclusion of the Central Maine League, to which Mount View Middle School belongs, if it agrees to review its current girls-only policy.

But a deeper look, such as that taken by the state's Superior Court in a 1999 case involving high school boys seeking to play field hockey, shows that the issue is more complex than it first appears. In that case, the Maine Human Rights Commission sued the Maine Principals Association, which governs high school sports in the state, and lost. At the time, Justice Robert E. Crowley of Maine’s Superior Court wrote that certain conclusions could be drawn about the effect of boys participating in the sport.

“For every boy playing field hockey, a girl will not be playing... For every boy playing a more important position or role on a team, one or more girls will be displaced to less important position(s). High school age boys are, as a group, bigger, faster and stronger and more powerful than high school girls…This puts boys at a genetic advantage,” Crowley said.

This reasoning raises the possibility that "equity" for boys may disadvantage girls, frustrating the intentions of the federal Title IX legislation meant to give girls greater access to opportunities in school sports.

As to whether boys should be allowed to play on the Mount View Middle School field hockey team we are agnostic. But we are glad the issue is being aired and considered thoughtfully by the district. We hope that will lead to a result where everyone concerned feels that they have been respectfully heard. That is the type of example from adults that will help the youth of the district become thoughtful citizens willing to consider all sides of an issue before making a decision.

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This week in history

This week contains two wildly different anniversaries in American history.

Boston Tea Party

On Dec. 16,1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

The midnight raid was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.

President Clinton impeached

On Dec. 19, 1998, after nearly 14 hours of debate, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton, the second president in American history to be impeached, vowed to finish his term. Clinton was not convicted in the Senate. The charges stemmed from extramarital affairs the president had, both before and during his term of office.


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