Schools and childhood roundup


  • Re: lawsuits against coach–obviously, society doesn’t want coaches to be sued, but if the school is a state actor and if the coach has some sort of forbidden motive, how is a lawsuit necessarily improper?

    Can a coach legally favor say a good friend’s son or daughter? Can a coach play kids based on diversity, rather than ability? Can a coach bench a kid because his dad has a Hillary bumper sticker?

    Obviously, there are problems of proof, and at some point litigiousness needs to stop . . . . but should a kid be benched for the reasons I mentioned?

    • SPO,

      Yes, yes, and maybe.

      Ultimately, the coach is judged by two things – 1) wins and losses and 2) development of players and program.

      There is no indication that the player in this case was abused in any manner or even that any law was broken. A coach made a decision and that decision is being questioned in the worst place in the world for these types of things – a court.

      • There may have been a law broken if this statement, which I’m taking on face value from the article, is true

        > It is illegal in California to require students to fundraise to participate in public school activities.

        If he was being punished because he didn’t want to participate in a fundraiser, as his father alleges, they may be able to build a case on that (providing that it breaks a law, as was alleged).

        • Robert,

          The law says that a student may not be denied participation in an educational activity for not participating in a fund raising event.

          The player alleges he was told he could not practice (which is hard to believe) but at the same time, he was still a part of the team. He was not denied participation in being on the team and therefore not denied participation in an educational activity. .

          Frankly, while the law may serve some purpose, I have no problem with a team and a coach telling a player that if you don’t want to participate in activities to advance the team goals, we don’t want or need you out here.

          The law is designed to ensure that a fee is not required for a kid to participate in an educational activity. If anything, his “benching” for a practice (if that is really what occurred) should be “educational” in and of itself. People should not expect others to go out, do the work and then swoop in and reap the benefits of their labor.

  • When did the “Animus Doctrine” come into existence? And can it now be applied retroactively to laws created with obvious animus towards whites, males, and more significantly, towards religion?

    • Just another way for the judiciary to reign supreme. Congressional staffers must now always have questions prepared for judicial nominees about their mind reading capabilities.

    • Look at Sotomayor’s dissent in BAMN . . .

  • There seems to be an issue with the “Lenore Skenazy” link in the second story.

    (At least there is with me.)

    It goes to Bitly, tries and fails to reference another article mentioned in the same story.

    • Sorry, fixed now.

  • If, and this is a big if, the law is that the kid cannot be denied an educational activity for non-participation in fundraising, then gitarcarver, your response makes little sense. It doesn’t matter what you think “people should not expect” or what you think “team goals” are–the fact (assumed here) is that this is something that the coach/school simply does not have any business doing.

    And what, precisely, is the message that this coach is sending–that the rules don’t apply to his personal whims?


    • SPO,

      What is the “educational activity” the kid was denied?

      I would argue that it is being on the team.

      Was the kid kicked off the team?

      In that light, my response makes perfect sense.

      • I almost didn’t bother to respond. Being nominally “on the team,” but not being allowed to play deprives him of an educational opportunity. There is a rule of statutory instruction that laws are not to be interpreted to be easily evaded.

        If the law is as advertised and the kid is being retaliated against because he does not wish to fundraise, the coach should be terminated. In order for schools to run effectively, the students have to respect authority, and that imposes a duty on teachers/administrators to act with a certain rectitude. When they blow off the law, the arrangement starts to fall apart. I hope you are being somewhat trollish, rather than having the obtuseness that stems from your commentary.

  • SPO,

    The article says that he was not allowed to practice – not that he was not allowed to play because of the fund raising incident.

    There is also the question of “what is the meaning of ‘not allowed to practice?'”

    Does it mean that he was sent home? Was told to shag balls instead of hitting? Does it mean he was told to sit on the bench while others practiced? How long did this “not allowed to practice” continue? All year? (That makes no sense, in case you are wondering.)

    It is also interesting to note that the coach was in his first year. The suit alleges that the kid was a three year starter but did not start in his senior year. Are we really trying to say that a new coach cannot evaluate talent on a team differently than a previous coach?

    It is an “abuse of authority” for a coach to say “I think you’ve been outplayed and I am starting someone else?”

    Furthermore, as the parents complained to the school district about the alleged “not allowed to practice” and the school district apparently found no support in the allegation, what are we really talking about here? A kid who thought he deserved to play as opposed to keeping his spot? A kid that may have become a cancer on a team that has a “no cut” rule?

    Finally, it is not “trollish” to say that what I believe is the educational opportunity differs from your belief. In my opinion, the kid was given the educational opportunity and his parents are acting like prototypical “little league parents.” Your mileage may vary.

  • If this kid is being retaliated against for not fundraising, then yes, it seems he has a lawsuit. That means, and this should be obvious, that he shouldn’t be benched for it either expressly or under the guise that another kid is better.

    Obviously, the facts of this case are murky, and there is a certain natural reticence over the strong possibility of sour grapes, but “educational opportunity” is a very broad term, and if the law is that one cannot be denied an educational opportunity on this basis, that means the kid cannot be denied a starting role (or any role) because he chose not to fundraise if that law is to have any teeth (see my earlier post).

    Obviously, you know this, which is why I think you are being somewhat trollish.

    Life isn’t fair–there is no doubt about that, and the courts aren’t always the place to litigate that–but, in this case, if there was a rule that no one who doesn’t fund raise gets to start (or a sub silentio execution of that rule), there would appear to be a very valid claim (subject to the murkiness I’ve already noted).

    The “cancer” comment is telling. At the end of the day, the school is a government entity. If a kid is being benched for reasons other than ability, the kid has every right to speak up about it, and the parents have every right to complain. I’ve seen better kids not play over lesser talented ones (not my kid), and it stinks.