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Include women in sports more, schools urged


More women must be encouraged to participate in Anne Arundel County school sports programs to help erase a 3-to-1 ratio of male to female coaches, according to a committee.

The Gender Equity Committee is scheduled to give its report, and recommendations for changing school sports programs, to the eight-member county school board later today.

The meeting, at school headquarters on Riva Road in Annapolis, is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.; the equity report is scheduled to be presented at 1:50 p.m.

In a written report distributed this week, the committee noted that all of the athletic directors at the county's 12 high schools are male, and that there are only two female assistant athletic directors.

And, according to statistics provided in the report, of the 483 coaches serving the 12 high schools, 103 or 21 percent, are women.

The study concluded there is "a need to promote and recruit women in coaching and athletic administration areas."

The study also found problems with field use and game times, as well as problems with budgets -- each of the 12 different high schools handles the budget for athletic programs differently.

The committee's survey of students, coaches, parents, administrators and assistant athletic directors cited their concerns that girls' sports receive less support than boys' sports.

Among the committee's recommendations: recruit newly hired female teachers to become coaches; seek grant money for training women interested in an athletic director position; create a common budgeting system; and encourage school newspapers to give equal coverage to girls' sports.

After the Gender Equity Committee's presentation, the school board is scheduled to review a proposed timetable for changing the way students are disciplined.

Complaints that black students are more harshly and more frequently disciplined than their white counterparts have nagged the school system for nearly two decades.

In December, the school system signed an agreement with the (( federal Office for Civil Rights, in the U.S. Department of Education, to ensure that race would not be a factor in student discipline.

The Task Force on Student Discipline has recommended that letters be drafted and distributed in September to students and parents outlining expectations for student behavior and that students be required to sign a behavior contract.

A uniform code of discipline also should be developed in the next year to replace the rules that have been adopted by individual schools.

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