PE “inclusivity” has women locked out


Image | Mayo Ou

With the start of a new school year, a new revamp of stress has piled on freshmen, proctors, and a P.E. coach alike. P.E. is being extremely exclusive to women, and that needs to change. The female locker rooms aren’t fully staffed, the clothes are way too big, and the PE programs are discriminatory. The administration must change these deep injustices.
Our school administrators can try to sweeten it all they like, but this fact remains, Coach Castillo is the only female P.E. coach at CHS. She is the one who takes care of everything for the female P.E. locker rooms while managing her own classes.
Castillo teaches periods 1-5 for P.E. and keeps supervision over the girls’ locker rooms by herself— which isn’t in her job description. She is only required to care of the students on her roster, yet for the past few years, she has been giving out lockers to all the female students. This year, she was required to assign lockers to the 700+ girls using the locker rooms — by herself. She has less than 200 students on her roster this year.

A female proctor has to supervise the periods when Castillo isn’t there as well. This means that for zero and sixth period, the proctor has to take time out of their day to go to the locker rooms, unlock them, and spend at least 10 minutes supervising the girls. P.E. teachers do not spend their education training to be locker room attendants— they are trained to teach. Yet, as the only female P.E. teacher, Coach Castillo opens and closes the locker rooms each and every period she is on duty. There is not even a locker room attendant to supervise the girls. A locker room attendant’s job would be to be supervising the locker rooms, which would take away the extra duties Coach Castillo has accumulated over the years of being the single female P.E. teacher.

In 2019, after CHS dropped Tawnee Adams who was an experienced female P.E. coach, all the responsibilities of keeping the locker rooms open for female students fell on Castillo, as no other female P.E. teacher was hired.
“I am not a locker room attendant,” Castillo said. “I am a teacher. Once they removed the other team member, all of that became my problem. But it isn’t my problem. It’s a district problem.”

On the other hand, there are five male coaches who can easily balance their work with supervising the locker rooms. And that’s not even counting when the locker rooms are used for sports after school. CHS freshmen Moksha Merla and Talula Clark remarked on how the female locker rooms are hard to get into when they need to dress for cross country.

“Cross-country, volleyball, all after school sports — there’s no female attending for the locker room,” Merla said. “So when I go to change, [the proctor] opens the door, and she says, ‘This is the last time I’m going to open it because your male teachers aren’t allowed to open it and my shift, the time that I work has ended.’”

If the proctors open the rooms outside of their work hours, they’re liable for the students they let in. Clark and Merla both feel that it is not fair for the girls, stating that the boys get more accessible options for changing after school with their locker room, while the girls do not get any. Yet Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, written in 1972, states that “no student shall, on the basis of sex, be […] subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Since “All public schools and colleges and nearly all private colleges receive at least some federal funds,” according to the National Women’s Law Center, our sports programs at CHS are covered by Title IX — meaning that there should be no gender discrimination in our sports activities. However, 90 percent of after school sports at CHS are coached by male teachers, meaning that sports for girls are also taught by male teachers who cannot open the locker rooms for them.

“The boys have more accessible options for changing after school, with their locker room,” Clark said. “The girls don’t have any options and they aren’t given anything else. Without the locker room… Well, we can’t just all change in the bathroom. We have these brand-new locker rooms — we might as well use them.”

Not to mention, changing into their P.E. clothes means changing into clothes that definitely are not the right size—or style —for them. The smallest size that ASB has to offer for P.E. clothes is an Adult small, which makes the options for sizing of P.E. clothes extremely limited.

“I’m stuck wearing small, so that’s like a dress for me,” Merla said. “When I ask for shorts, they’re like, ‘Oh, we only have mediums and smalls,’ and I’m like, ‘I barely can fit an extra small.”
Indeed, P.E. shorts sizes need to have a wider range. Another option that Clark mentioned was having two different models of P.E. shorts, stating that the clothes should be catered towards girls and not just boys, as they need different cuts to fit properly.
It’s not just outside of PE classes though. Just recently, on September 16th, the sixth period teachers introduced dodgeball — but only to the boys. The girls felt like they were being talked down to and that they were excluded.
The coaches teaching 6th period split their classes by gender, and then sent the boys to go play dodgeball while the girls played indoor soccer. They explained to the girls that they “did not want the girls to get hit in the head hard by a boy” and that in time, the girls who wanted to would “work up to being able to play co-ed dodgeball.” CHS’ required P.E classes aren’t filled with superstar athletes. In fact, it’s likely that many of the boys would also prefer not to get “hit hard” by one of their more aggressive classmates.
“They don’t need to build us up to co-ed sports,” an anonymous 6th period student said. “We’re already there. We can take a hit to the face. It’s always nice to have other options, but we don’t need to be built up to co-ed dodgeball. We’re already there for co-ed soccer, too.”

The P.E. teachers had no qualms about letting students of all genders play indoor soccer together, yet they divided the students up by gender for dodgeball. It’s a clear case of how the male PE coaches discriminate against girls — which is against Title IX of the Education Amendments Act. Not to mention, in El Roble, the PE teachers had everyone play dodgeball together — nothing was mentioned of the “need” for students to play co-ed.

P.E. must be more inclusive to women, meaning they need to maintain equality for the gender balance of coaches, the care of locker rooms, and clothes sizes alike. They need to change their discriminatory curriculum. Employing a female locker room attendant, hiring more female PE coaches, changing the sizes of the PE clothes, and changing the PE teaching programs would immensely help. Our female PE students and those doing after-school sports deserve to be included and not discriminated against. Coach Castillo and our proctors deserve to have better treatment. Will it happen?