Schools in the United States are under fire for offering girls sports programs that encourage physical aggression and sexual assault.
Now, the issue is getting even worse.
The latest incident occurred this week when an eight-year-old boy from an Illinois high school was expelled after a female coach told a male teammate that the boy’s hands were too small to hold onto his own during a drill.
The incident, which occurred last month in Springfield, Ill., sparked a national outcry over girls’ sports at schools, as many educators have taken to social media to share their shock.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the department is investigating a rash of incidents involving male athletes, including one in which a student was suspended for “interfering” with another student in a girls’ basketball game.
“This kind of behavior does not represent our school culture, and we need to address this issue head on,” said the DOE’s Acting Director for Education and Training, Stephanie Ramey.
The DOE has launched an investigation into the situation.
In a statement, the DOE said that the case highlights the need to strengthen parental involvement in student discipline.
The agency also cited a study that found that boys are more likely to be suspended for similar offenses than girls.
“There are many reasons why boys and girls behave differently, including differences in peer relationships, social and emotional skills, and emotional maturity,” the DOE added.
“There are clear educational and cultural benefits to the teaching of gender-appropriate skills in our classrooms.”
But in the past, schools have been known to use physical punishment against boys.
In 2009, a Maryland high school teacher was fired after he threatened to “blow his brains out” during a basketball game and was later convicted of assault.
In 2007, the Washington State high school student who was suspended in 2011 was also found guilty of assaulting another student during a game.
In 2014, an Oklahoma high school principal was convicted of assaulting a female student in an incident that occurred on the same day that he was suspended from the school.
In a video that went viral on YouTube, a female high school coach is heard telling a male player, “you can’t hold me in there and not hurt yourself.”
In a separate incident, a high school in Mississippi was suspended after a teacher called a female player a “bitch” and “sissy.”
The video was widely shared on social media, including on The Daily Show.
The video sparked protests and the suspension of a number of girls’ and boys’ sports programs, including those at the University of South Florida.
“We need to get a grip on this,” said one female student, who declined to give her name.
“It’s so upsetting, it’s so hurtful, because you feel like you’re being punished, you feel unsafe,” she added.
Some students said the video was a reminder that they could be punished, and many were outraged that the video could be viewed by millions of people around the world.
“When I saw that, I was like, ‘Man, I’m a little nervous about what I’m going to say,'” said a 16-year old student at South Florida High School, who asked that her name not be used to protect her privacy.
“I was like a little scared.”
The DOE said the school will be able to appeal the student’s suspension.
The school is now in the process of setting up a new team to help coach the new program, according to ABC News.
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