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Bias Foes Need ‘More Than a Ruling’

I read with great interest “Teachers Charge Sports Sex Bias at Duarte School” (Times, Feb. 16).

The girls basketball team is alloted one hour of practice time in the school gym while the boys have three hours. The boys’ locker room has a whirlpool, an ice machine and a washer (and) dryer. The girls do not.

A devoted teacher, Corrine DeJong, recognized the discrimination. The California Teachers Assn. has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The school principal, Alan Johnson, attempted to blame the differences on more community support being provided for boys’ programs.

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A public school principal has the responsibility to guard students against bias of any kind. At an earlier time, such donations would have been designated for use according to race.

It is unfortunate that we do not train our fine educators to recognize bias and how to eliminate it from the classroom. Concerned parents should lobby their school board to provide equity workshops. Educators can be enlightened about effective methods to improve achievement through equal expectations. Often a teacher might say, “I need two strong boys to. . . .” But a teacher with special training builds the self-esteem of all students by saying, “I need two students to. . . .”

It will take more than a ruling from a federal agency to improve conditions and attitudes. It will require persuasion and perseverance. I feel the lucky students of Duarte have the needed tutor in Corrine DeJong.

ALBERT R. KILLACKEY

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El Monte

The San Gabriel Valley section of The Times welcomes all viewpoints from readers about issues in the San Gabriel Valley. Letters should be as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include signature, valid mailing address and telephone number, if any. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used. Send letters to: San Gabriel Valley Editor, Los Angeles Times, 1333 Mayflower Ave., Suite 200, Monrovia 91016.


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