OCR demands come without financial support


A recent visit conducted by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has demanded Marshfield make changes to allow for gender equality. However, the OCR will not be offering financial support for school renovations.

The OCR is based out of Portland and its job is to analyze high schools across the state. It  ensures ethnic fairness and gender equality are being practiced, which includes anything from racially unfair playing time in athletics to gender equivalence in the classroom. Marshfield is one of three schools chosen to receive a visit this year.

However, despite the massive changes that will take yet another toll on the district’s budget, the OCR still demands the district pay for the expenses. Many of the changes are coming from the boy versus girl athletic facility inequality, mostly due to some of Marshfield’s buildings being ancient.

The girls locker room is located in the West Gym, causing girls to more often have to walk outside to get to the Main Gym for P.E. classes. On the other hand, the boys locker room is in position underneath the Main Gym, therefore boys are less likely to have to walk to a different gym for their classes. But for a girl, walking to the Main Gym has become a regular piece of their daily activities. For students, the walk between the Main Gym and the West Gym takes roughly a minute or less.

The locker room situation is only one example. The girls have smaller locker rooms than the boys and the manufacturing class in the Main building does not have a restroom providing easy access to disabled students.

Making a change to integrate the OCR’s needs as drastic as altering the location of the locker rooms will send the district’s budget plunging. The district can hardly support the staff and students it currently holds; adding another renovation will only make the situation more challenging. Since the CTE programs receive federal funding, the district could lose this funding if it does not comply with changes.

If the OCR is going to make such demands it should provide funding for the changes. It tells the district the changes and give the school a deadline to meet the changes; yet there is no funding for the changes to be made.

These modifications are preferences by the OCR, not necessarily due to complaints from the students, parents or staff. The Coos Bay School District is struggling financially enough as it is. The last thing district officials need to worry about is providing money to finance the demanded unnecessary changes.