PiedmontHighAthletes

Parents of students at Piedmont High School received an e-mail over the weekend informing them of the existence of a “Fantasy Slut League.” Based on the popular NFL and NBA fantasy leagues, male students earn points for their sexual activities with female students. School officials said varsity athletes started the league over five years ago. But officials say their hands are tied when it comes to disciplining off-campus activities. So what should be done? And what does this say about sexism and bullying among high schoolers?

Guests:
Shira Tarrant, associate professor in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach and author of books including the forthcoming second edition of "Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex and Power"
Brian O'Connor, director of public education campaigns and programs at Futures Without Violence
Lynn Ponton, child and adolescent psychiatrist, professor at UCSF and author of "The Romance of Risk" and "The Sex Lives of Teenagers"

  • Jim Puskar

    I wonder whether a practice like this, surfacing in a wealthy, Republican enclave like Piedmont, has anything to do with the elitist attitude of entitlement that seems to exist among many of this city’s residents?

    • PIDDLER

      Piedmont is a wealthy but predominantly liberal community. I wonder if your opinion has anything to do with the joy people get from branding Piedmont as an elitist, conservative, stuck-up land where everyone is born with their own trust-fund. Try to acknowledge your own privilege and arrogance for once.

      • BMAC

        Have you counted the Romney lawn signs in Piedmont lately? Your perception is not accurate.

        • BMAC

          I am not only a Piedmont resident, I am a high school administrator. From a legal and ethical standpoint, the school has an absolute responsibility to administer discipline for activities that originate at school or impact school. Given that this originated with school sponsored sports teams and, as the principal acknowledged, provided a kind of “bonding”, this originated through a school activity.

          • Hank P

            If there was actually any wrongdoing, BMAC, you might have a point. But the facts, as recounted to me by a current PHS teacher, are that there were multiple leagues set up by boys and girls. There has not been a single documented case of coercion or bullying. These were gossip rings that should be stopped. But there was no wrongdoing to punish.

        • mom

          I am a member of the Piedmont community. I live in what is considered “Baja” Piedmont. Know that just because we don’t put up lawn signs doesn’t mean we don’t vote. Have you forgotten that Obama had one of his major bay area fundraisers in Piedmont this year?

          • BMAC

            and p.s. I also live in Baja Piedmont. We have a Romney sign across the street.

    • BMAC

      I absolutely believe that it does, and I live in Piedmont. There is also a culture of protecting “our own”. There is very little accountability evident when a morally questionable issue surfaces, which was evident in the principal’s letter.

      • Hank P

        Like the principal, BMAC, you are talking before learning the facts. Take the time, as I have, to reach out to members of the Piedmont High community. You will discover that the girls set up similar leagues, and there has been no evidence of bullying by anyone. It is very dangerous to pass judgment without taking the time to learn the facts.

    • Sarah

      Actually, Piedmont is 77.53% Democrat.

      • BMAC

        I think that Piedmont is inaccurately characterized by that statistic. While Piedmont voting politics may be liberal, the Piedmont “social policy” is elitist, entitled and extremely privileged. I see evidence of this in everything from zoning to Back To School night to the principal’s response to this crisis. I am not a native of Piedmont, having only lived there for the past five years with kids in school, so I am shocked by the disconnection between espoused values and actions.

  • Lisa Burns

    Folks –

    Just wanted to let you know that Piedmont High is not part of Oakland, as was erroneously announced on the air this morning. It is in the Piedmont School district and is independent of the Oakland school district, just as the city of Piedmont is independent of Oakland.

    –Lisa Burns

  • Hillary Ruiz

    These leagues are not unique to Piedmont. In fact the school where my fiance teaches on the Peninsula found several leagues last year. And the leagues are NOT unique to girls. After the Piedmont principal sent out his letter,it was discovered that several groups of girls had set up similar leagues. Fortunately, after interviewing a number of boys and girls, the administration in Piedmont found no evidence of coercion or bullying. Apparently the leagues were score cards. The boys set up leagues to track the girls’ activities. And the girls set up leagues to track the boys’ activities.

    • RA

      This would make a lot more sense given the title of “fantasy slut
      league” since fantasy leagues don’t actually have the participants DO
      anything other than keep track.

      Aside from the sex stuff It’s clear so far 20 minutes into it that
      neither Michael nor the guests understand what a fantasy league is.

      The overall effect of this is some 80s style hand-wringing.

  • Eamonn

    I once saw an interview with Dutch school girls asking their opinion of boys who always carried condoms with them. Their attitude is that they respect the guy for being responsible. The same question was asked of a group of American teens and their attitude was that the guy would be a “douche”. There seems to be a certain attitude to sexual matters that is a hangover from puritanical religious suppression of sexuality, which often leads to an immature obsession with sex in contrast to the laid back approach of the Dutch, who incidentally have very low rates of teen pregnancy, abortion, and a higher average age of first intercourse.

  • jodaveki

    What’s eye-brow raising is the surprise expressed at teens’ sexual behavior vis á vis social status in light of how many adults both in media and in everyday communitites indulge in similar manners: using sex or sex appeal as a means to attain. Are adults that naïve? How much denial are adults in?

  • Forum Producer

    Here is the letter from the female Piedmont HS student that Michael just referenced: http://piedmont.patch.com/articles/letter-an-inside-look-at-fantasy-league

  • Anne

    How would Shira address the fact that some of these girls had no idea that this league existed and the fact that videos of the sex acts were posted on youtube.
    My biggest concern is for the girls and how far back we have walked from empowering woman with education. These behaviors seem to speak to the fact that many girls/women still only see their power in this world as a sexual object. There is a difference between consenting to sex and using your body to gain attention and status. I think this is an opportunity for schools to bring a component of humanity, compassion and empathy to the student body.

  • Guest

    Are you kidding me? We don’t want to be too harsh on these young men? As a father of the young girl, I would expect minimally that the kids involved would be expelled from the school, they’re lucky the fathers of these daughters don’t find them and levy a harsher punishment. Your discussion of community service is frankly ridiculous.

    • tas

      You can read the California State Education Code at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. If you can produce evidence of wrongdoing within the school’s “portal-to-portal” jurisdiction limits (direct travel [or with the intent of direct travel] from home to school, at school, and/or direct travel [or with the intent of direct travel] from school to home), you and/or the District can pursue consequences allowed in the Education Code. If you can produce evidence of wrongdoing outside of the school’s jurisdiction, you can report it to the Piedmont Police Department (or the the police department in the city in which the wrongdoing occurred), and/or the Alameda County District Attorney’s office for investigation and possible prosecution. Of course you can also purse civil action at your discretion.

      If however, you or anyone else levies “a harsher punishment” in the form of physical assault or verbal threat (“Criminal Threat”), you would then rightfully be subject to criminal prosecution and civil action. You would also arguably be showing your daughter no example of how she could act as a strong woman, only that she will need some potentially violent man around her to protect her. Make sure you tell her to watch for “friendly fire”, in that case.

  • disqus_8BdTk21bxE

    Correction: the SlutWalk was founded in response to the comments of a Toronto police constable, not the police chief.

  • TimDoyle

    I was a member of a college fraternity and the crassness of talking about “sex” as a weird “sport” was common. I was only briefly a member of that Frat.

  • What about civil process? The courts do still work.

    Sue the offending boys for defamation. Nothing like a court judgment to follow you.

    • TJ

      Truth is a defense to defamation.

  • Bostonian128

    Passing notes became texting
    The stuff on a locker room door became myspace
    Facebook has it’s roots in the student directory
    Now we have bathroom wall version 2.0

    vahe
    palo alto

  • I believe that teaching children how to treat women properly does not need to be tied directly to parents giving a “birds and bees” talk. I am 25, never received such a talk, but have always treated women with the utmost respect. What I did receive, however, was general rules to act properly within society. I was taught to say “please” and “thank you,” to hold the door open, and to think of others before myself. I believe that young men and women can learn to treat each other with respect this way and does so while not having to deal with backlash from persons who don’t want as much (or any) sex education in schools.

    • JenniferV.

      I agree. In fact I’m surprised the public outcry as well as the discussion on Forum has been so myopic. The issue is not just about sex, it is about respect and behaving properly in society. The “apologists” who say this issue has been overblown, that girls had their own leagues too and no one was coerced, are setting the bar very low for what constitutes social decency.

  • disqus_lUMzaPTZAp

    We raise our daughters listening to stories like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty where female protagonists are portrayed as passive victims who are saved by “strong” men. No wonder, there are still those who see women as victims. Recently, I had an opportunity to chaperon at a high school dance at a high school in the South Bay and was shocked to find that the 4+ hours of dance involved only “freaking” where a boy stands behind a girl and rubs his frontal area against a girl’s behind, following the rythm of the music. The girls were dressed scantly and bent over 90 degrees. I find it an extremely demeaning position for girls, but teachers and parents seemed to accept it as normal. This school is one of the highest regarded schools in the South Bay. What am I to do as a mother who is trying to raise a daughter to be smart, strong, and independent?

  • shac

    Are these the young men that will go on to colleges like Amherst and be responsible many of the date rapes that are on these campuses. These boys need to be accountable now before they move to colleges and think they can get away with this behavior later on.

  • timholton

    I appreciate Madeline Levine’s thoughts. (It would have been great to have her as a guest and to hear more from her on this.) We send kids to school to become valuable on the commercial market. The deeper message in that lesson is that people are commodities. These kids are learning what we’re teaching them. The outrage seems misdirected: If we don’t like what the students are learning, adults need to question the lessons we’re teaching them. How about teaching real skills, knowledge and wisdom (including moral wisdom) that build and enhance authentic self-worth rather than the false sense of self-worth kids seek through this kind of behavior?

  • Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow

    Perhaps I’ll be thrown out of the feminist club for this, but I find it interesting that the only voice of a young person who might actually be involved was ignored during the whole discussion. The student stated flat out that she was not a victim. Has there been any evidence or allegation of non-consensual acts being perpetrated? If so, you failed to mention it on air – you assumed that there was plenty, but no specifics were given. Obviously, if those acts were committed, they should be prosecuted vigorously. However, as far as I’m concerned, this entire discussion was sexist – it assumed that the girls were victims of manipulation rather than giving all young people the power to make their own sexual choices, crass as they may be. The myth that woman aren’t able to control their own sexual destiny or pursue pleasure as they see fit is damaging to young women’s sense of self ownership and to the ability of young men to respect them as fully participatory partners.

    • Margaret Rallist

      If you are thrown out of the feminist club, you should be enrolled in the enlightened club. The principal in Piedmont screwed up by not investigating the facts before sending the letter. The facts that have emerged over the past few days are that no one did any bullying, and the girls set up leagues of their own. My sister lives in Piedmont and she met with the principal to find out what was going on. AFTER the principal sent the letter, he talked to girls who said that there was no bullying, and that the girls set up the exact same leagues. Now a media storm has been started by a careless letter that was sent out by a principal without proper investigation. Parents getting hysterical about older boys using alcohol to seduce younger girls are barking up the wrong tree here. That didn’t happen (in Piedmont at least) These leagues were about bragging rights. Boys set them up and girls set them up. They are disrespectful and should be stopped. And by the way, they exist at many, many high schools

    • BMAC

      This misses the point that there is a context, history and power dynamic at work that underscores the whole concept and practice of a FSL. This isn’t about sexual pleasure; this is about power and social status and is a symptom of a much larger social issue. However, in an insular community, people are let off the hook too easily.

      • Hank P

        The real point is that boys and girls should be taught to treat each other with respect. Boys and girls should be told to stop their leagues and educated about the dangers that can result from them. BMAC seems all too eager to punish without knowing the facts. BMAC: Were you aware that there have been at least two leagues formed by girls at Piedmont High in the last 2 years? The leagues set up by the girls have operated in the exact same fashion as the boys’ leagues. Should all the girls be punished too?

  • strong women

    i think you adults are setting a bad example for us kids. first, principal kitchens sent out the letter without investigating the facts fully. he didn’t interview us girls! we would have told him that nobody bullied or coerced anyone. and we would have told him that us girls set up our own leagues. boys and girls set up the leagues to keep track of each other. there was no bullying or coercion. second, you adults are leaping to the conclusion that high school women are weak and naive. you suggest that someone can get us drunk and take advantage of us. we are not stupid. no one even tried to get us drunk and coerce us. we are strong and smart. investigate the facts before getting on your high horse and lecturing about stuff you don’t know.

  • As a PHS graduate, not surprised in the least.

  • DanE

    Fact Check, Piedmont voter registration: 78% Democrats, 20% Republicans, 2% independent (per Spering’s Best Places website).

    • BMAC

      Please see my response above. How we vote doesn’t reflect what we want in our backyards or our ambitions for our children.

  • Hank P

    As a high school principal for over 20 years (now retired) I write this with a heavy heart. After talking with a former colleague who now teaches at Piedmont High, it appears the real story here is that a principal was pressured by a group of teachers to send out a mass emailed letter before a full investigation was completed. Apparently some faculty members were worried that if the letter was not sent quickly, the league participants would “lawyer up.” If a proper investigation had been completed prior to sending the letter, the principal would have discovered what was common knowledge at Piedmont. Namely that boys and girls have set up multiple leagues and that there has not been a single instance of documented bullying or coercion tied to these leagues. The principal’s letter was full of inaccurate statements and implied that older boys were plying younger girls with alcohol to pressure them for sex. Once the principal finally got around to talking to the girls at the school (after the letter was sent and the media storm began), the principal discovered what everyone knew: the leagues were silly games, formed by boys and girls to gossip. There has not been a single documented case of one of these leagues leading to coercion in Piedmont. (My understanding is that one of these leagues in Texas did lead to wrongdoing.) By sending out a letter linking the Piedmont leagues to coercion and drinking the principal spread a falsehood that has touched off a national media storm. It is shocking to me that the principal did not interview the girls before sending out the letter. He has recklessly damaged these kids’ reputation. Boys and girls were setting up leagues. Although these leagues are insensitive and high schools across the country should put a stop to them, they were not bullying rings at Piedmont. By carelessly implying otherwise without a proper investigation, the principal has trampled the reputation of these kids and his town. Although I am never an advocate of legal action in school matters, I suspect that if any legal claim exists here it belongs to the boys of Piedmont who have been villified for an immature league that was exactly the same as the one the girls at their school set up.

  • Fep

    Football causes brain trauma. Brain trauma lowers IQ. Low IQ causes slutty behavior. Ergo, fantasy slut league?

  • Fep

    A key unspoken point here is that the boys are themselves slüts.

    I can understand how this might happen, given that football often leads to brain trauma and lowered IQs.

    Males with lower IQs become male slüts.

  • piedmontgrad

    First of all, this “code of silence”you were talking about didn’t exist; Everybody knew about it and even the girls were ok with it. The Fantasy Slut League is just a name given to the documentation of events that went on in Piedmont on the weekends. There was no peer pressure with alcohol or drugs. The students did what they normally would do, got drunk and went to parties. All the boys did was document the information on a Facebook group. They had no say on whether this girl kissed that guy or anything.

    If our society wasn’t so advanced in technology, if Facebook wasn’t available, it wouldn’t be on the news, yet this would still happen. You are making such a big deal about nothing. I encourage you to do a longitudinal study of high school students talking about these same things. And just a guess, you might find a correlation close to 1 between high school boys and girls talking about having sexual activity on the internet or at school.

    Some people are saying this is some sort of rape, in fact it really isn’t even close to it. The girls wanted to do it; they wanted to get points for the team that they KNEW they were on. Some of the girls even lied about hooking up with a guy to earn points.

    The fact is that people need to chill out and open their eyes to the world. There were no real victims of rape, peer pressure, or forced intoxication. Absolutely none. This is giving a horrible name for Piedmont when people keep talking about false information and blowing this situation way out of proportion

  • Guest

    First of all, this “code of silence”you were talking about didn’t exist; Everybody knew about it and even the girls were ok with it. The Fantasy Slut League is just a name given to the documentation of events that went on in Piedmont on the weekends. There was no peer pressure with alcohol or drugs. The students did what they normally would do, got drunk and went to parties. All the boys did was document the information on a Facebook group. They had no say on whether this girl kissed that guy or anything.

    If our society wasn’t so advanced in technology, if Facebook wasn’t available, it wouldn’t be on the news, yet this would still happen. You are making such a big deal about nothing. I encourage you to do a longitudinal study of high school students talking about these same things. And just a guess, you might find a correlation close to 1 between high school boys and girls talking about having sexual activity on the internet or at school.

    Some people are saying this is some sort of rape, in fact it really isn’t even close to it. The girls wanted to do it; they wanted to get points for the team that they KNEW they were on. Some of the girls even lied about hooking up with a guy to earn points.

    The fact is that people need to chill out and open their eyes to the world. It is fantasy, there were no real victims of rape, peer pressure, or forced intoxication. Absolutely none. This is giving a horrible name for Piedmont when people keep talking about false information and blowing this situation way out of proportion

  • Amidst all this talk about a sex league, a lot of local families are claiming this has all been overblown by the media and that it’s a great school etc… but I found something interesting about Piedmont High School that I thought might indicate a different kind of gender problem — and one that is squarely in the realm of the school’s responsibility… I wrote about it on my blog on GreatSchools in case anyone wants to check it out.

    http://blogs.greatschools.org/greatschoolsblog/2012/10/fantasy-slut-leagues-and-test-score-gender-gaps.html

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