The following is a response to an Op-Ed piece in Sunday’s New York Post by Naomi Schaefer Riley, found here.
Dear Ms. Riley:
I’m glad the opening line to your opinion piece in Sunday’s New York Post acknowledged that actions have consequences.
And I’m sure you considered the consequences of writing your opinion piece about a 12-year old girl who wants to play basketball, and her family.
And I’m sure you considered that your opinion piece was pointedly critical of that family, even though the school’s choice to exclude the girl was upheld in court simply because private schools are allowed to discriminate.
And I’m sure you carefully chose the words you used in the article, namely, “…the family cost the school..,” even though it was the school’s choice to prevent the girl from trying out for a team based strictly on her gender.
And I’m sure you reviewed the diocese financials before you painted it as financially strapped, even though it does not pay a dime in taxes.
And I’m sure you know that some of New Jersey’s Catholic schools, such as Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic, and Paterson Catholic, are renowned for their sports programs, before you chose to write that public schools were a better option for students whose priority is sports.
And before painting the family as affluent, I’m sure you did your due diligence to find out what their financial situation is, rather than just taking the average household income of the town in which they live.
And I’m sure you spoke to the parents of that little girl who just wants to play basketball and asked them if they wanted “special considerations,” or just a chance for their daughter to try out for the team.
And you certainly chose your words carefully when you implied that the same family was “going to take everyone down” with them by accessing the courts. You know, like the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education did.
And you surely took into account, when suggesting that the little girl go to a different school, just how difficult a transfer for her would be academically and socially, and would even suggest the same to your own child if she were faced with this adversity.
And you also certainly considered that the lesson you would be teaching to your own child would be that it’s okay for an institution to discriminate. It’s okay for an institution to deprive her of her due process rights. And it’s okay both for her and for other girls to not have the opportunity to get a position – even if she’s good enough – because she’s a girl.
And you also considered the consequences of your actions when the headline of your opinion piece accused the girl’s parents of teaching her narcissism. You considered that she and her family would read this sanctimonious and patronizing writing about them and how that would make them feel. You considered that their friends and family would read it, too, and you want them to accept what you wrote as the “correct” opinion. You considered that the girl’s classmates would adopt your position and may even attack that girl for fighting for what she believes in.
And then, worst of all, you certainly saw the irony when two days later you had the audacity to write about the crisis of cyberbullying. You even said of schools that they are “a place where students are supposed to feel safe physically and emotionally…” You failed to recognize that on Sunday, YOU were the bully.
Perhaps the consequences of YOUR actions should be an apology to this girl and her family.