Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

From one of our neighboring school districts

By Amy Houston

A Valley Center family has filed a lawsuit against U.S.D. 262, alleging discrimination based on race in the high school basketball program.

Teresa Garvey, whose son Joe is a Valley Center High School senior, is the plaintiff in the class-action complaint for civil rights violations. A scheduling conference was held Wednesday morning before Magistrate Judge Karen Humphries in federal court.

Teresa Garvey declined to comment about the case.

“It’s unfortunate,” she said. “I really don’t want to put the school down. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.”

Her husband, Ray Garvey, also declined to comment.

“There’s nothing that I can comment on at the moment,” he said. “I’d have to refer all questions to our attorney.”

The Garveys’ attorney, Lawrence Williamson Jr., said the case is in the discovery phase when both sides may review records and take depositions. A jury trial has not been scheduled.

“It’s still way early in the process,” Williamson added.

The Valley Center school district is represented by Alan Rupe, Richard Olmstead and Patricia Dengler. Superintendent Mike Meier declined to comment on the case.

Wayne Morrow spent five years as head coach for the high school boys’ basketball team. He most recently was assisted by Matt Klusener and Kenny Carter. Morrow resigned in March and a new basketball coach, Brett Flory, was hired for this school year. Morrow is teaching and coaching in Larned.

The Garveys’ complaint alleges that selection procedures for the high school basketball team are excessively subjective.

“Selection of a sports team undoubtedly requires some subjectivity and discretion,” it states. “However, when that subjectivity and discretion is without boundaries, in the hands of racially or culturally biased coaches, such limitless discretion will have a disparate impact against minorities: just as it has in this case.”

The complaint outlines Valley Center’s cut policy and evaluation sheet for prospective basketball players. According to the policy listed in the Garveys’ complaint, the coaching staff makes a final cut for the basketball teams after a minimum of three full practices in November.

It states that students are evaluated in the mile run, vertical jump, consecutive tips, two-minute sprint, dribbling, shooting and the following intangibles: team player; heart, desire and dedication; caring; coachability; athleticism and size (positions); character; competitiveness; past basketball experiences observed; mental and physical toughness; basketball savvy; poise; intensity; passion; will to win; and will to persevere.

The complaint alleges that coaches often fail to correlate players’ scores to their completion of a task, and they fail to place a numerical value on the intangibles listed. It accuses the school district of “turning a blind eye to discriminatory impact that the neutral policies had upon the plaintiff and Class,” failing to adequately train staff and showing a deliberate indifference to Joe Garvey’s constitutional rights.

The class-action aspect pertains to minority students who were enrolled since Jan. 1, 1999, at Valley Center High School and who may have been “excluded from athletic competition because of their race, ethnicity and/or color.”

It continues: “Such discrimination has undermined and detracted from the plaintiff’s educational experience that has effectively denied plaintiff’s equal access to his school’s resources and opportunities and has had a concrete, negative effect on the plaintiff’s education. Additionally, plaintiff’s concentration level has been reduced, and anxiety increased.”

According to the complaint, damages should be awarded for the continuing offenses of lost educational benefits, financial loss, humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish. It requests a declaration that the school district violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and an order to develop and implement a plan to ensure students will not face a discriminatory educational environment. Finally, it requests that the district be ordered to provide an annual report to Williamson for three years detailing the implementation of its plan and that it be ordered to “provide such relief as is necessary to compensate plaintiff for the discrimination to which he was subjected.”

Williamson said his clients’ goal is to persuade the district, either through a jury trial or settlement, to initiate a policy that prevents coaches from reaching decisions about players based on their race and to take complaints seriously


Blogger Casey Jack said...

Uh oh, sounds like someone has sour grapes that their kid didn't make the team...

After reading the article, I am still slightly confused. I'm not really seeing how someone's failure to make the basketball team would lead them into a spiral of anxiety, decreased concentration level, humiliation, and mental anguish.

But maybe that's just me.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Coach Brown said...

You know, basketball isn't until November.

I really didn't have to be reminded of what I have to look forward to.

10:50 PM  
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That's OK, you need to have days like this, otherwise how would you know when you are happy. You need to have something to contrast your happiness with. What is black without white?

Even though you know that sadness (speech anxiety) is a part of life, let's try to make it a small part of life.

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1. Stand up straight, sit up straight. When your body is in alignment your energy can flow and when your energy is flowing freely, you can flow.

2. Smile! Yes, just smile. Easy to do and effective.

3. Repeat positive affirmations. Things like "I feel good", "Positive energy flows through my body", "I see the good in all".

4. Listen to some music that you like. It doesn't have to be anything specific, just something you enjoy. Certain types of music work better than others, but experiment and see what works for you. Studies have shown that Classical music and new age music work best.

5. Take some time out for yourself, relax and read a book, do something for yourself.

6. Meditate. Meditation is an excellent habit to develop. It will serve you in all that you do. If you are one who has a hard time sitting still, then try some special meditation CDs that coax your brain into the meditative state. Just search for "Meditation music" on Google or Yahoo and explore.

Our outside work is simply a reflection of our inside world. Remember there is no reality just your perception of it. Use this truth to your advantage. Whenever you are sad, realize that it is all in your mind and you do have the power to change your perception.

These tips will lift you up when you are down, but don't just use them when you are sad or speech anxiety . Try and practice them everyday, make them a habit. You will be surprised at how these simple exercises will keep the rainy days away.

On a final note, if you are in a deep depression that you can't seem to shake, please go see a doctor. This is your life and don't take any chances. speech anxiety

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