Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dumbest lawsuit ever
Amanda over at Pandagon has already jumped on this one, but it might need some extra smacking around by us.
At Milton High School, girls outnumber boys by almost 2 to 1 on the honor roll. In Advanced Placement classes, almost 60 percent of the students are female.

It's not that girls are smarter than boys, said Doug Anglin, a 17-year-old senior at the high school.

Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys.

Before we all jump on this kid for being a whiney jerk, let's see what evidence he has for his complaint.
Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes, and girls are rewarded for abiding by the rules, while boys' more rebellious ways are punished.


''The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin said. ''From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders, and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."

I'm going to pause now and try to imagine my father's reaction if I had told him I wanted to sue the school district for oppressing me by making me follow the rules. Well, that would have left a permanent psychological scar. I wonder how Anglin's father reacted.
Anglin -- whose complaint was written by his father, who is a lawyer in Boston -- is looking for broader changes. He says that teachers must change their attitudes toward boys and look past boys' poor work habits or rule-breaking to find ways to encourage them academically.

This seems revealing. Anglin's father supports him and once again they bring up that oppressive requirement for obeying the rules. He never mentions specific rules that might discriminate against males; he simply finds the very presence of rules oppressive to his rebellious male nature.
While some of Anglin's concerns appear to be supported by school statistics and anecdotal evidence, school officials say some of the solutions that he offers are far-fetched.

For example, he proposes that the high school give students credit for playing sports [yes, he's an athlete], not just for art and drama courses. He also urges that students be allowed to take classes on a pass/fail basis to encourage more boys to enroll in advanced classes without risking their grade point average. He also wants the school to abolish its community service requirement, saying it's another burden that will just set off resistance from boys, who may skip it and fail to graduate as a result.


Gerry Anglin, Doug Anglin's father, said the school system should compensate boys for the discrimination by boosting their grades retroactively.

I'll let Amanda say what need to be said here.
If there isn’t a better symbol of male privilege than giving all the boys in a high school extra points on their report cards just for being male, I don’t know what is.

She, of course, is right, but it's more offensive than that. Anglin is part of a privileged group from almost any angle you choose to look at him. He's an upper-middle class, male, high-school jock, and from the newspaper photo, we see that he's white and pretty good looking. Yet somehow he has such an enormous sense of entitlement, that he finds having to follow the same rules as women to be a criminal injustice. He wants to permission to skip those requirements he doesn't feel like fulfilling and to get extra credit for doing things he does feel like doing. How did this kid get so screwed up. I think my father might have had some choice words for the elder Mr. Anglin's parenting skills. I'll side with my dad.

Amanda also makes a prediction about Doug's future.
Keep your eye on this one. Before long the Heritage Foundation will be grooming him for a lifetime of grousing about uppity feminists and racial and religious minorities who want equality. He’ll enjoy his future stint in the College Republicans, a bona fide sausage fest if ever there was one.

She could be right about his career arc, but I'm less sure that he'll enjoy it. By pampering his "rebellious" son, Mr. Anglin has ensured that Doug will never be happy. No matter how far he goes or how easily he gets there, he will always feel aggrieved about something. It will bother him that someone else does better, that someone went before him, that he's not getting enough praise for just being Doug, or that he has to share his status with anyone else. I could feel sorry for the child who became Doug Anglin, but for the Doug who that has become, I have only contempt.

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