The Albany school district discriminated against girls who wore sports support in track practices

ALBANY – The Albany City School District applied its attire in a discriminatory manner that could violate the U.S. Constitution when it disciplined students wearing sports bras in a letter sent to the New York Civil Liberties Union on Thursday.

The NYCLU asked the district to change its dress code and remove the disruptions granted to 13 athletes last month.

“District officials appear to have discriminated against the dress code against girls athletes — and especially against other black and colored girls — in a way that reinforces evil racial and sexual stereotypes in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, and the corresponding state and local constitutional protections and statutes, ”the NYCLU wrote. “Furthermore, the District may violate the sports suspensions of athletes by wearing sports promoters and speaking out against their dress code with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the corresponding protections in the New York State Constitution.”

In a letter, Kaweeda Adams, a superintendent of Albany school, said students were not punished for wearing sports breasts, but rather for “inappropriate behavior” after being told to wear T-shirts.

“The student-athletes involved in this matter did not receive a sports suspension because of their attire, or because they expressed disagreement with parts of our Student Code of Conduct that have a reference dress code,” he said.

One of the issues mentioned by NYCLU is that the boys were training without shirts, while the girls were wearing sports breasts. The students said the girls were only told to wear T-shirts until they complained that it was unfair.

“Until this event, boys were allowed to practice shirtless. When girls practiced in sports bras to avoid the heat of fatigue and to maintain comfort on a hot day, they were disciplined, ”the NYCLU wrote. “The girls were ordered to leave the pitch and not allowed to wear T-shirts or return to practice in clothes deemed acceptable by the District. This is a different treatment based on sex.”

The school dress code is also wrong, NYCLU wrote. NYCLU leaders in the district are “reviewing their dress code to eliminate provisions that reflect and reinforce gender stereotypes.”

All “underwear,” according to the dress code, must be completely concealed in outerwear. District officials said sports breasts serve as underwear.

But sports scares are “designed and used as outdoor athletic clothing, in the practice of outdoor athletics,” the NYCLU wrote.

The students said that in the past, they were allowed to wear a sports breast in practice.

NYCLU also questioned one of the reasons students had to cover their sports support with a shirt. The school district’s sports director said sports bras could “distract” men’s coaches.

“These stereotypes reflect the broad and archaic generalizations about the inability of boys and men to control their sexual impulses and the inability to make decisions about clothing that makes girls safe and comfortable,” the NYCLU wrote. “District policies and practices prioritize freedom from the hypothetical ‘distraction’ of boys and men over girls’ autonomy, and physical comfort and well-being, and cause girls to wear more layers of clothing despite hot weather to avoid further scrutiny and disciplinary action.”

Changes to the code of conduct, including the dress code, will be reviewed by the school board on July 7, with a vote on July 21. Student athletes were invited to meet with the dress code committee, but did not do so. attended, Ron Lesko neighborhood spokesman said. However, the administrators brought recommendations to the committee after a meeting with the students.

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