html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Anderson County schools had this problem for the first time in <i>2005</i>?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Anderson County schools had this problem for the first time in 2005?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An Anderson County teenager has filed a lawsuit over her temporary dismissal from a weightlifting class by a principal who feared male students might try to rape her.

[Asshole principal] McCracken said in a deposition that he was afraid [female student] Phillips might be sexually assaulted in the class.

"Having a female with 35 or so male students in an isolated area from the school, it sets a very liable situation in my opinion," [sexist pervert] McCracken said in the deposition.

Three days after kicking Phillips out of the class, [you know he mulled over the problem in great detail and at much length, several times] McCracken changed his mind and reinstated her.

"She is up there with a bunch of football players, a 24- to 25-year-old coach, the only girl — there is a safety issue there. It was a hard call for the principal to make," [ignorant school district council] Knight answered. ...
There are so many things wrong with that story that I am at a loss for where to begin. Most of the problem rests with the jackass principal who corrects an as-yet non-existent problem by removing the potential target, rather than preventing the potential bad behavior at the source. I’m real skeptical about a principal whose thoughts turn to rape that quickly, too. Krista, from whom I got the link, points out another problem: why is there only one female athlete in the weightlifting class? But my deep conviction is that this whole mess was completely unnecessary.

I have been the only girl, then the only woman, in the room my whole life. TKD, math/science school where your female Asian-Am classmates weren’t allowed to go out at night, PE classes, engineering classes, very occasionally Ultimate? Me in a room with a bunch of guys is a familiar and comfortable state. I have, in fact, been in the very circumstance Phillips was removed from; for two sequential Fall semesters I took a PE class at the local community college that turned out to be the conditioning class for their baseball team. Three mornings a week I was the only woman in a class of seventy early-twenties men*. I have always found the same thing. Dedicated athletes who show up for a difficult conditioning workout tend to be very interested in getting their workout in. In my experience, they are not simultaneously erotically interested in the woman in the class, or looking for opportunities to haze or assault her. I felt insignificant in those classes (as is appropriate for one student among many), but never threatened.

I would love to see that principal spend some long squirmy days in rigorous sensitivity training. I hope that court case sets precedents that will inform other school district lawyers that reinforcing nasty stereotypes of men and women is potentially costly. I hope Phillips is kicking ass in college, lifting heavy things and running fast.





*That class was hard and all agro boot-camp-like, with an old-school instructor who would repeatedly cuss out his students and call them girlie, then remember me and apologize for using bad words. We did forty minutes of abs, three days a week. Man alive, I was in good shape those months. The baseball guys were annoying; in two sequential fall semesters, not one of them voluntarily spoke a word to me. I had to be noticeable; I was the only person there who wasn’t on the team. When we paired off to do medicine ball work, I would stand there, mostly amused, as the guys turned to each other and the last guy slowly realized (after approaching other pairs of guys) that he was going to have to work with the girl. I could understand if I were slowing his workout, but I used the same weight medicine balls and was at about the 35th percentile for speed drills. So they favored slower guys over me. I’ve had people tell me that baseball guys are real traditional jocks; all that time in the dugout selects for manly-types who like manly bonding. Anyway, they were young and pretty, not in the least friendly, and I loved the workout, which is what we were there for.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By any chance is Principal McCracken's first name Phil?

David J. Balan

5:03 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Article says Bob McCracken. Am I missing a joke about Phil McCracken? Or do you know one?

5:09 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Say it out loud.

Your points are all good. I'd add that would-be criminals tend to seek some privacy for their acts. I'd worry more about a girl stuck alone with one or two guys.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm siding 50/50 here. The principal (perhaps more than the superintendent?) is the one most capable of seeing the forest of lawsuits currently arrayed against the school, or the trends of lawsuits across the nation in case(s?) of something bad happening.

Would you feel differently if this was a private school and the principal was the headmaster?

You're the lawyer, but I think the finger-wagging should be pointed at the students for various reasons, not the principal (other than the fact that he shouldn't have made a decision and reneged).

5:38 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Far as I can tell from the limited information in the article I linked, there was no complaint or reason to believe something was wrong. The principal got bothered about the situation which I don't think required a remedy and removed the female athlete from the class.

If there was reason to believe there was a problem, he could assign a monitor to the class; he could yank the men from the class; he could speak with the coach or whomever was leading the workout; he could create deterrent punishments for the potential assault; he could encourage more female athletes to lift in that class. The MOST inappropriate thing to do is to penalize the blameless person in the situation. I have no love for the principal or lawyer.

(I wouldn't feel differently in a private school. What is the distinction, that they don't take federal funding and aren't governed by Title IX?)

(I'm not a lawyer; I didn't take the bar.)

5:48 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

That story is ridiculous -- I'm having trouble even making fun of the principal (I'm assuming the vice principal is Benjamin Dover). He sees a class full of high school boys, and assumes that the thirty of them are just going to collude on a gang rape? And then he thinks that there's nothing particularly wrong with that meriting that he take action, but he should keep temptation out of their way? God forbid the cafeteria lady should need to walk through.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I was slow with the name jokes, but think I am now current with Phil McCracken and Benjamin Dover. I had to freakin' Google them to catch up, and it still took some work.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'll note he didn't suggest chastity belts for the boys, LizardBreath.

s.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am at a loss for words. What the anencephalic principal does not realize - granted, with no brain tissue beyond the brain stem he can't realize much - is that teenage boys can be very protective toward girls. Probably more protective than adult men. If one of the boys in the class tried to force himself on the young lady the other boys would stomp him silly. I cannot think of a safer environment for her than in a class with 35 boys.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I was slow with the name jokes, but think I am now current with Phil McCracken and Benjamin Dover. I had to freakin' Google them to catch up, and it still took some work.

lol--the problem with puns is becoming a little clearer.

As far as the catchers in the administration are concerned, the funniest thing is that the principal's lawsuit paranoia resulted in...(dumroll) a lawsuit!

Notice that the way he states his concern isn't in terms of the student's welfare, it's the fact that "it sets a very liable situation".

My default reaction to most "what the fuck?" stories is "there must be something else to this that makes it make more sense". Just how isolated is the weight room? Is the coach an asshole or not? Have there been rapes before? Stuff like that.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Will said...

I heard that last week he wanted to include some women in the class so that the men did not turn gay.

He was quoted as saying "who knows what might happen in an isolated room with a bunch of sweaty horny guys and no women. I was worried about the school's liability if one of those young men caught the gay."

6:24 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Will:
You can get the gay on contact, you know. I bet the weights are covered with it. I know that I always liked boys after I left workout.


You know, I was thinking about this more this morning. The moron district attorney mentions a 24-25 year old coach as part of the problem. My first assumption was that they were afraid such a young coach might not have the personal authority to stop a bad situation from happening. But maybe he meant that a coach that young, well he's still got the urges and might take a turn in the queue. Fuck. You know, the injury of being pulled out of the class was done to the female student, but the insult was directed at every man in that class. I don't know which riles me more.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Will said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Will said...

I think the most insulted group is actually the men in their 30's.

Where does he get off assuming that we do not have the testosterone to want to rape young female students whenever they are alone? We still have urges! Just because I am no longer 24 doesnt mean that I cannot succumb to the seduction of a helpless female.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

Those of us getting near 50 (especially us married ones) are, however, free of all urges.

At least once I week I go home with some sweet young lass, remove her clothes, oil her up, and give her a full body massage just to demonstrate my urgelessness.

My wife, on the other hand, is till a bit wary about bending over to pick up a fallen object in front of me (unless she is actually in the mood).

9:25 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Jens just made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

Oops...can't edit.

For complete accuracy, that last one should be "...once I week I TRY TO go home..."

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can get the gay on contact, you know. I bet the weights are covered with it. I know that I always liked boys after I left workout.

So that explains it. I've been wondering why, after I get home from the gym, I have a strong urge to listen to Liza Minelli CD's and watch Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoons. Now I know.

At least once I week I go home with some sweet young lass, remove her clothes, oil her up, and give her a full body massage just to demonstrate my urgelessness.

According to rumor, Mahatma Gandhi would share his bed with beautiful naked young women, without touching them, as a way of overcoming carnal urges.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

9:32 AM  
Blogger Will said...

"According to rumor, Mahatma Gandhi would share his bed with beautiful naked young women, without touching them, as a way of overcoming carnal urges."

This resulted in one of Gandi's most famous sayings, "Only through failure will you find true bliss."

9:40 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

See, some people just don't get a joke. Or, even if they get it, don't quite believe it.

It was a great "quotation", but you actually had me googling for the source...

(Is it just me, or is there a "punitive" aspect to the word verification? It seems to me that the first time I post a comment, I have to enter about 5 letters. If I post several times, I have to enter about 10. (No, the irony quotes don't involve anything having to do with puns. You are safe, Megan.)

11:16 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

)

(Former LISP programmers get stressed with unbalanced parentheses)

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally 100% agree with you. I was on my high school wrestling team, and our coach wouldn't allow me to wrestle varsity b/c I'd have to wrestle men (boys). However, if guys on our team were up against a varsity girl on an opposing team, he'd let them wrestle. Message: women are defiled by contact w/ men. It didn't really make me mad till years later when I realized the double standard.

And no, no one ever tried to rape me during practice. Sometimes they challenged me to push-up contests. Sometimes they lost.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(ps I am a woman, in case the last post didn't make it clear...)
-Sarah

7:26 PM  

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