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NNHS Athletic Equity Committee releases survey to explore race and gender equity

(Rachel Kurlandsky)

Last month the NNHS Athletic Equity Committee released a survey as part of a larger effort to examine racial and gender equity within the athletic department.

The North Athletic Equity Committee is part of the Athletic Department and focuses on ensuring equity amongst North student-athletes. The committee is composed of teachers and other faculty at North

“As a community, we are always examining and trying to improve our practices to ensure equity and access for all our students,” said health and wellness teacher Lauren Baugher, who is a member of the committee. “The sports equity committee was formed to examine what areas need to be addressed so all student-athletes, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation are receiving the same opportunities and equal treatment.”

The survey asked students how North’s athletic programs and coaches treated them differently based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. The form asked 28 questions and students responded with a number from one to five, with one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agreed. The committee also wanted to know if student-athletes felt welcomed in North’s athletics. 

According to Athletic Director Thomas Giusti, “Some race issues have sometimes come up periodically at our school. We want all kids to feel comfortable and feel like they are being treated fairly.” 

Newton North has been actively addressing issues of race and gender inequality in the school. NPS has also teamed up with Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) which is a coalition of Newton Families. FORJ strives to educate students and schools about race, racism, culture, and identity. 

The discussion at North comes as equity in sports has become a national debate. In this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, many protested the glaring disparity between exercise equipment available to women’s basketball teams as compared to the men’s. These protests have led to a review of practices and policies at many different levels across the country. Here is a link to an ESPN article about the disparities at the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The Athletic Department has received the responses and are using them to help build a safer athletic environment at North according to their website. English teacher Michelle Leong, who is a member of the committee, hopes that the administration can make necessary changes that improve the student athletic experience. “Receiving feedback can always help to make things better,” said Leong. “By hearing what people are experiencing, we’ll be better able to address areas for growth that may exist.”

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