24 February 2008

Catholic School Bans Female Ref from Boys Basketball Game

ESPN.com has a story on a Catholic High School in Kansas that  refusedto let a female ref officiate a boy's basketball game.

Here's the school's justification:
St. Mary's Academy follows the directives of the Catholic Church regarding co-education. The Church has always promoted the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education... This formation of adolescent boys is best accomplished by male role models, as the formation of girls is best accomplished by women. Hence in boys' athletic competitions, it is important that the various role models (coaches and referees) be men.
The Headmaster, the Reverend Father Vicente A. Griego, also says that because they teach their boys to "treat ladies with deference,"
we cannot place them in an aggressive athletic competition where they are forced to play inhibited by their concern about running into a female referee.
That last line is the biggest load of garbage I've heard in a long time. It makes Kelvin Sampson sound forthright.

Hey, Father Griego, you want to teach your boys to treat ladies with deference? Tell 'em not to argue with the ref!

This case sounds to me like a clear case of sex-based discrimination. Just as Bob Jones University was stripped of its tax-exempt status for racial discrimination, perhaps this school needs to be investigated.

Or better yet, every other high school in Kansas should refuse to schedule them until they stop discriminating. According to ESPN they're not a full member of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, and they are simply "approved" to compete against KSHSAA schools, meaning no-one has to play them. And no one ought to. They have a right to their religious beliefs, but they do not have the right to discriminate in a government sponsored activity.


James K said...

Now that strikes me as really srange. I was educated in a boys' high school (this is quite common for New Zeaalnd public schools), but that didn't mean there were no female teachers. Sure you got more men teaching at the boys' schools, but there was never a policy of gender discrimination for staff.

James Hanley said...

The odd thing is, the school probably does have female teachers. That's pretty standard in U.S. Catholic schools. And if all the stories about nuns as teachers are true, they exercise a whole lot of authority over the boys.