How Can Parents Fight Back Against Federal Bleacher Bullies?


Rhonda Robinson wrote earlier this week about the school district in suburban Detroit that dismantled the bleachers from the boys’ varsity baseball field so they would be in compliance with Title IX regulations after a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR had determined that the boys had better facilities, including better bleachers that had been paid for by parents on the team’s booster club. Rhonda wrote:

In an attempt to make everything fair and equal all it could do is bring everything down to the lowest level–in this case quite literally. The men and women that worked to rise above their circumstances, by building something better, were punished. Their work is completely destroyed. The moral of the story for the everyone-goes-home-with-a-trophy generation: When you expect the government to make everything fair then everyone becomes equally impoverished.

You have to actually read the OCR’s onsite inspection report to fully grasp the enormity of the federal reach into our local public schools and the extent to which their attempts to make everything equal have devolved into a mess that would be hilarious were it not so serious. Woe to the unfortunate school district that receives a visit from these federal genitalia counters with their clipboards and unhealthy interest in urinals and shower curtains. With respect to the availability and quality of the locker rooms, the genital counters who visited the Plymouth-Canton schools wrote:

All School athletes are permitted to use the locker rooms at the School, although some athletes prefer to change elsewhere. The school has varsity locker rooms for both the boys and the girls. The locker rooms are of nearly identical square footage and layout. The boys’ locker room has 236 lockers while the girls’ locker room has 218 lockers. The additional lockers in the boys’ locker room are larger lockers used for football equipment. Each of the locker rooms has eight showers of regular size, and one accessible shower; the only difference noted between the two shower facilities is that the girls’ locker room showers have curtains. The boys’ locker room has two toilet stalls, two urinals, and eight sinks. The girls’ locker room has four stalls and eight sinks. Both locker rooms have a whiteboard in the offices for coaches to use.

Oddly enough, the genitalia counters didn’t seem to have a problem with the disparate toilet facilities, which inadvertently gives us a glimpse into the insanity of these laws. Boys and girls are not the same.  Girls cannot (in the absence of advanced gymnastic skills or large quantities of liquor) use urinals (trust me, I know this … I have a cousin who tried it once). The girls’ swimming facility used by the Plymouth-Canton schools has eight wall-mounted hair dryers — presumably because they recognize that women have different grooming needs than men (the guys are stuck with a few hand dryers, surely violating the rights of those with long tresses). And not to be all sexist or anything, but girls (especially those of the high school variety) need want mirrors. It’s written in the female genetic code that there can never be enough mirrors when a gaggle of girls is present and performing grooming activities. No amount of genital counting and forced gender equality can alter these biological —  and cultural — differences between the sexes.

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To review a bit of the history of these regulations, when Title IX of the Educations Amendment of 1972 was signed into law by President Nixon it seemed rather innocuous. Just one brief sentence:

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.

But laws in our modern age of the federal Leviathan are never innocuous and they are never brief — the regulations accompanying them multiply like viruses, spreading far beyond their original intent. In 1972 Health, Education, and Welfare Secretary Caspar Weinberger was tasked with explaining exactly how that single sentence in Title IX would be interpreted and enforced through the federal regulatory code. In a memorandum to President Nixon in 1974 Weinberger revealed that there were concerns about the impact on athletics:

Under the Title IX statute, the Department is required to cover athletic activities conducted by recipients of Federal financial assistance. The proposed regulation has been drafted in such a way, however, so as to minimize the impact on existing competitive athletic programs.

Weinberger said that schools would only need to provide equal opportunity for both sexes to participate in athletics to the extent that they expressed an interest in participating. And on the issue of funding sports, Weinberger said,

Finally, and most significantly, the proposed regulation states expressly that, “Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require equal aggregate expenditures for athletics for members of each sex.”

But future administrations and several court decision would further expand the reach of Title IX, as they always do. 


In the late 1970s Hillsdale College took a stand against the federal counters, refusing to sign “Assurance of Compliance” forms required by Title IX as a condition of students receiving federal financial aid. The school already had a long history of non-discrimination and opposed the federal intrusion into the demographics if its student body. A resolution at the time stated, “Hillsdale College will, to the extent of its meager resources and with the help of God, resist by all legal means this and all other encroachments on its freedom and independence.” The College filed a petition for judicial review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1979. Though the court ruled that the school would not be required to sign the federal forms, it also ruled that the federal government could terminate the federal financial aid the students were receiving even though no allegations of discrimination had been made.

The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed this decision in Grove City College v. Bell, despite an absence of evidence of any discrimination, saying that Title IX applied to private schools if students received federal financial aid. As a result, both Hillsdale College and Grove City College withdrew from all federal funding. Later, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, expanded the reach of the federal government even more, specifying that recipients of federal funds must comply with civil rights laws in all areas, not just in the particular program or activity that received federal funding.

In the years since 1972 Title IX has burgeoned into an unwieldy behemoth. That single sentence has now been expanded into the Department of Justice’s 38,000 word Title IX Legal Guide that explains requirements for a Title IX Genetalia Counter Coordinator and regulations about everything from sexual harassment to “textbooks and curriculum” related to Title IX.

Though federal funding only accounts for a small percentage of K-12 school budgets (13% in direct funding in 2010) the federal government has an increasingly intrusive role in managing the day-to-day affairs of local schools. It’s not only the bleachers at the high school baseball field, but also the foods children are permitted to eat and how they should be taught about sex. And now, with the implementation of the Common Core standards, the federal government has an expanding role in what is taught in our schools.

Barring a miraculous shift in our government that would overturn these federal statutes, the only defense states, local schools, and parents now have against the dictates of this federal leviathan is to wean themselves from the federal trough. If states want to stop this madness they are going to have to end their dependence on federal government funding of education, refusing all forms of it, just as Hillsdale College and Grove City have done in higher education.

That, or perhaps Mark Levin can come up with an 11th Liberty Amendment to return autonomy of education to the states.