Looking for a legal opinion - education related

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by DisneyAndRedSox, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. DisneyAndRedSox

    DisneyAndRedSox I still call it a WEDWay PeopleMover!

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    I know this isn't a budget question (well, it does effect how much I pay for school next year...), but I know there are a lot of legal savvy folks on here.

    My district had a lottery for full-day kindergarten, of couse DD didn't get in and I am very upset. In our town there were 47 applicants and 40 slots. Instead of pulling 40 names out of the fish bowl (yes it was open to the public), they had 2 bowls- girls and boys. There were 26 girls for 20 slots and 21 boys for 20 slots. SO- girls had a 76.9% chance of getting in, boys 95.2% chance. And the waiting list goes by gender also, so if a boy drops, the first boy gets in. I feel this is extremely unfair. On the lottery application form it says:

    The XXX School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation or disability, in the operation of the educational programs, activities, or employment policies, and no person will be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to its public schools, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges, and courses of study of such public schools on account of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

    Also- the district has nothing in writing on the website on how the lottery is to be conducted (i.e. boys and girls separated) and how the waiting list works (i.e. if a 2nd boy drops out, will it then go to the girl's list since there is only 1 boy on it?) It is pretty expensive, first installment due in 2 weeks so it is possible she could get in soon if anyone fails to pay.

    We are going to the school committee meeting this week and are thinking of contacting an attorney. Yes I am bitter she didn't get in, but I have a hard time accepting it because I feel the girls were at a disadvantage. I would love to hear if anyone thinks I have a leg to stand on or if it is worth contacting an attorney.

    BTW- one other school in the district was lop-sided even worse, mostly boys on the waiting list.
     
  2. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

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    You might want to ask an attorney for advice, but do not let the School Boasrd know you have consulted one. I once found out, the hard way, that once the people I was talking to knew I had an attorney involved they would not talk to me at all unless the attornery was present.

    Personally I would point out to them that they were not following their published rules, that you feel that because of the way it was handled there is discrimination based on sex, and that not following their published rules could lead to the expenses of a discrimination lawsuit.
     
  3. Jedimom

    Jedimom Mouseketeer

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    I can't see how you don't have a case. Wow.
     
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  5. DisneyAndRedSox

    DisneyAndRedSox I still call it a WEDWay PeopleMover!

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    Thank you C.F.- I knew you would respond and always have the best advice! :hug:
     
  6. jgreco

    jgreco Mouseketeer

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    Somewhat related, somewhat not.

    Our local Gold's Gym had a "Biggest Loser" contest. There was a separate contest for girls and guys 1st, 2nd, 3rd place with thousands of dollars in prizes. It cost $50 to enter.

    I figured what the heck, could use all the motivation I could use. Hired one of their personal trainers for 3 months 3x's a week and joined weight watchers.

    At the end (90 days later), I was informed that due to "lack of interest, they changed it to just coed, AND 1st, 2nd, 3rd place were all male winners.

    They made the mistake of telling me I was #1 for the women. So my wheel spins in my head and tells me if they had stuck to the damn rules, I literally would have gotten about $3k in prizes, 3rd place alone was a free year of membership.

    After freaking out on them. I could only weasel 6 months free, which in the end I found out they just extended my contract and suspended my billing for 6 months. I am still PO'd about it, but there was nothing I could do since the "rules" were nowhere to be found after the fact. I did at least lose more weight than I normally would have so I guess I got something out of it!
     
  7. dakcp2001

    dakcp2001 <font color=darkorchid>Am I wrong to want a cashie

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    Sounds like your going to make a big stink and still get no result. Your daughter didn't get picked. If you sue, I think it will prob take so long to resolve it is not going to help this year anyway. I do agree that the way they did it seems pretty unfair and I would be ticked too. I just think you'd spend a lot of money on a lawyer and end up with the same end result. You would prob help kids next year though. I mean what are the odds that they would redraw for this year? Or squeeze her in? Either way it would still end up being unfair to someone.

    They should have just picked from one bowl.
     
  8. dakcp2001

    dakcp2001 <font color=darkorchid>Am I wrong to want a cashie

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    Now THIS would infuriate me. Might be worth $150 bucks to have a lawyer draft a letter to corporate. They totally stiffed you.
     
  9. MM27

    MM27 DIS Veteran

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    would you be seeking legal advice if your child got picked?

    I don't see it as discriminating against males or females because they both have the opportunity to be in the lottery. It seems like they were trying to avoid top heavy classes of girls or boys so they are taking half boys and half girls.
     
  10. Marionnette

    Marionnette Children see magic because they look for it

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    I'm sorry that you didn't get the full day K that you wanted. Face it, seven parents were going to be disappointed in this situation. You happen to be one of them. Along with the parents of 5 other girls and one boy. I don't see a case of sex discrimination here unless the school is outright denying little girls a chance at being in ANY kindergarten class at all.

    The gender makeup of those applicants was 55% female and 45% male. So by your reasoning, 22 girls and 18 boys should have gotten into this class. What if all the names had been in a single bowl and all 21 of the boys had gotten in? Would you still be upset? What if all 26 girls got in and only 14 of the boys were picked? Would you feel that the boys were being under-represented?

    I think that getting a lawyer would be a waste of money. You will spend more cash tilting at this one windmill than you will spend on private full day K. And you will certainly get the reputation among the administrators and teachers as one of "those" parents. I think that you should to go to the meeting and suggest that perhaps the lottery should be more random without taking gender into consideration. You may find that there is a very good reason why they do it this way. And you will avoid any ill feelings that the threat of a lawsuit can bring.
     
  11. MommaSnowwhite

    MommaSnowwhite DIS Veteran

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    I think I would just drop it. I'm sure they picked names by gender so they would have a class that was too boy heavy or girl heavy. It really doesn't seem to be discrimination to me.
     
  12. ancestry

    ancestry Trees Without Roots Fall Over

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    I don't think you have a case. Colleges do this all the time. They all have statements that they don't discriminate based on sex, religion, race, etc. BUT those characteristics are a basis for their admission process in order that they may have a diversified student base.

    I don't know the legalities behind it. But I'm guessing if colleges do this all the time then there must be a legal basis for being able to do it. For example, a woman applying to a male dominated field at a university stands a greater chance of being accepted than another male applying to the same program. Same in reverse. Same thing with race -- minorities are often given preference over non-minorities.
     
  13. NiftyJ88

    NiftyJ88 Mouseketeer

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    You could end up with a lot of enemies out of this. So you get a lawyer, somehow win (which is not probable) and your child is forever tagged as the "lawsuit child" and will have teachers on edge for the next 13 years of education.
    If you take your school to court, not only will it be a public spectacle, but it's possible that your community will also turn against you because their taxes may be affected.
    Think about it this way. If those were the rules from the start, 20 girls and 20 boys and your daughter didn't get picked...would you still be willing to get a lawyer? Or, if your daughter was picked from this same set of rules, would you be upset?
    Think very carefully about the people who might be affected by your actions. Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. tinker&belle

    tinker&belle DIS Veteran

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    Most early education classrooms try to balence boys and girls, this is nothing new, you just were party to see which children were chosen. I don't think you will get anywhere and you will have to deal with the school district for the next several years. I wouldn't mess with it.
     
  15. southern_redhead

    southern_redhead DIS Veteran

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    I can't address the all day kindergarten thing - we have one choice - all day for K students, they did away with "optional" half days decades ago. Anyway, we go 180 full days a year and it is part of the free public school system. So....all I can speak to is the 20 girls/20 boys. I know that our school, at least, tries to put an equal number of boys and girls into each class. It isn't always possible, of course, but our principal tries really, really hard to do this as much as possible. Of course, as they progress through the grades she doesn't stress it as much and you have the "original" group for the grade moving/new kids moving in which will affect the balance but.....I think this may be why they did a 20/20 drawing. So, in the end, they would argue it was to provide a beneficial classroom enviroment and not that they were simply trying to skew the odds for the girls. I don't see how it is unfair to girls except that more girls applied for the same number of spots than did boys....that's just life, things will be "unfair" more often than not.

    I would be upset, too, but now I think you probably need to be looking at finding another option for her. I'm sorry it didn't work out as you'd hoped. I can't imagine having a lottery for K. Our pre-K works on a similar system, I guess. First they rank them by income and the poorest qualify first. After that, it is first come first serve until they fill their 20 spots. It has gotten VERY sought after because it is also free.
     
  16. Lewisc

    Lewisc <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    A better question is if a district should offer full time K if they don't have enough money to offer it to all eligible kids.

    We wouldn't be having this discussion if the district wanted to have a seperate lottery for blacks, hispanics or any other protected group.

    Of course it's wrong. The school population for that age group isn't half girl half boy so why should the class be 50-50. That's assigning you can legally balance the number of boys and girls in the class.

    I'd go the committee meeting. Tell them you think it's wrong. Ask how the school attorney was able to reconcile this procedure with the policy.

    I wouldn't get an attorney. I guess you could file a discrimination complaint.
     
  17. cats mom

    cats mom DIS Veteran

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    There were 20 spots available for boys and 20 spots available for girls. How is that discrimination? :confused3
     
  18. mdsoccermom

    mdsoccermom DIS Veteran

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    And what would you like to accomplish? That they change their mind and your daughter gets in, while an accepted kid gets their admission revoked?

    I really don't see the discrimination here. Both boys and girls were eligible to apply. They had 20 slots for girls, and 20 were picked. 20 slots for boys, and 20 were picked.
     
  19. Lewisc

    Lewisc <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Boys had a 95% chance of getting admitted and girls only had a 76% chance. There are more girls then boys in the district yet the slots were allocated 50-50. How is that not discrimination?:confused3:confused3
     
  20. Marionnette

    Marionnette Children see magic because they look for it

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    You are making the assumption that there are more girls in K in the district than there are boys. That's not true. The OP pointed out that the situation is reversed in another school in the same district.

    In addition, you are making the assumption that the ratio of boys to girls in this small subset of students is reflective of the total kindergarten population. This lottery was only held for those who wanted to put their children in all day K. As long as the district is providing K in some form to all of the students, then they are not discriminating against the girls in one school or the boys in the other school.
     
  21. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

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    It's bad luck, no question about it. But it is nothing but luck. It could've been that only 15 girls were born the same year as your daughter, and you could've been on the other side of the luck.

    There is value in gender-balancing the class, and that's what the school was going for.

    I agree with the others who say put your money towards private kindergarten rather than get yourself (and your daughter) as "those people". This is especially true right now when school systems are being forced to cut back so drastically; you can force them to fight you in court, but it'll take money from the classrooms -- and the school will remember that.
     

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