Feds Determine Bleachers Are Unequal, Must Be Torn Down

By:  Bob Adelmann
Feds Determine Bleachers Are Unequal, Must Be Torn Down

Thanks to a combination of busybodies, "bleacher envy," and mission creep, Title IX is being used to erode freedom further.

Six years ago some parents of high-schoolers in Plymouth, Michigan, decided they couldn’t see their students play baseball very well through the chain-link fence surrounding the field, so they chipped in and built some bleachers so they could see better.

But last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in the interest of fairness and equality, told them to take the bleachers down. One of the parents who helped pay for and build the bleachers, Dan Gilbert, told a local Fox News affiliate, “It was hard to watch the game through the black chain link fence, so we created our seating deck to sit above it.” They also bought a new scoreboard as well, using their own money.

But someone — anonymously — complained that the new bleachers were nicer than the ones at the girls’ softball field, so the situation wasn’t fair and equal. The OCR stepped in, and by federal edict the bleachers are being dismantled.

Plymouth High School Superintendent Michael Meissen decided not to protest, saying instead that he wants to be “fair to everyone.” Unfortunately the school doesn’t have the money to rebuild new seating to be in compliance with the Title IX law under which OCR brought the complaint, so the bleachers are gone.

Gilbert didn’t think it was fair: "I don’t think parents sitting has anything to do with on-field competition. I can’t believe we are tearing something down as opposed to building something," he said.

Requiring fairness and equality, of course, was the initial purpose of the Title IX amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act (signed into law under President Lyndon Johnson), stating in part:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Nothing was mentioned about sports in the law, nor was there any language in the 1964 act that referred to sports. But then inevitable “mission creep” set in, and without congressional approval, executive orders by Johnson began to “clarify” and enhance and expand the law. His Executive Order 11375 ended discrimination on the basis of sex in hiring and employment in 1967, and two years later Bernice Sandler used it in her fight to keep her job at the University of Maryland.

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