Saturday, March 29, 2014

Parents pay for new bleacher seats at Michigan High School baseball field, but Obama Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights forced school to tear them down since nearby girls softball field didn't get new seats-WJBK

3/27/14, "The battle over bleachers: Do high school sports facilities have to match?" WJBK, myfoxdetroit.com, Plymouth, Mich.

"A new set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys' baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys' and girls' athletics must be equal.

A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.

But, after a complaint, the U.S Education Department's Office for Civil Rights investigated the new addition and says it must be torn down. It says the facility was no longer equal to the girls' softball field next door, which has old bleachers and an old scoreboard.

The school agreed to take the seats down after receiving a citation. The seating was also not handicapped accessible.

The superintendent says the seats and materials will be stored until they can form a plan that complies with the rules and is fair to everyone. He adds the money is not available to build a similar seating deck at the girls' field, but their field will be getting a new scoreboard." via Free Rep.


A parent comments:


"Rebecca Tell Minch

I was one of the parents that worked hard to raise money for those bleachers and I don’t understand why the school district gave us permission to construct them in the first place. The fact is that the district did provide equal facilities to the boys’ baseball team and the girls’ softball team. The boys’ booster club simply organized themselves and worked very hard toward improving their facilities. I guess what I’m hearing is that there is no room for improvement…unless everyone can improve at the same rate. That’s a good lesson for these kids…playing a competitive sport. Now, if the girls’ softball field was a muddy piece of crap, then I whole-heartedly understand the problem. But it’s not. It’s a beautiful, well maintained field as well.

In terms of the “seating not being handicap accessible,” are the aluminum bleachers they provide handicap accessible? Are the basketball bleachers in the gym handicap accessible? Are the weed-infested, rundown visitor bleachers on the Varsity football field handicap accessible? No, they aren’t even accessible period. They lack railings and aisles for spectators to use when climbing to their seats. So, I don’t think handicap accessibility is really the issue.

Unfortunately, this is just a case of sour grapes. After all, I don’t think I ever heard anyone from the Canton boys’ baseball team complain about their facilities compared to Salem’s and Plymouth’s. That’s because they know it was not a gift from the school district, rather it was the result of a tremendous team effort on behalf of the players and their parents over many years. All this is doing is hurting the kids."

"Kevin Curl · Top Commenter · Hard Knocks University (School of Hard Knocks)
You opened a whole can of worms here because all school sporting events have to be handicapped accessible and this is a federal regulation!"

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