Category Archives: single sex class

FLY takes off at McClymonds: boys to men

by Janaya Andrews

A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school.  He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration.  Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.

The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.

The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.

 “I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.

The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.

“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to  respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.

Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump.  “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.

So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.


By Miles Mitchell McClymonds freshman Nicholas Sanford knew how to use a shovel  only because he had once dug a hole in his backyard to bury a dead puppy.  So when he handled “the very delicate roots” of the tomato … Continue reading

Dancing Without the Stars: I’d Rather Spike a Volleyball

dancer dancing clip artBy Silvia Cardona-Tapia


Attitude, attitude, attitude. Just take me.  I’m being forced into a class that I don’t like. And it’s not even math or physics. It’s dance and I’m no dancer. In  truth, I’d rather spike a volleyball.This fall, McClymonds created a new policy to place the majority of the girls in a dance class instead of physical education (PE).   A class filled with 15 girls  — some of whom don’t want to dance –can be suffocating.

“The deal was trying to build unity, sisterhood and telling a young lady what they need to know” said Lakeisha Golden, math and dance instructor.

The administration might have made a serious mistake.  Corralling “drama girls” into a small class might not have been the smartest decision.

“They are lucky to be in a class with 15 people instead in a class of 35-40 with me yelling at them,” said Jeremy Namkung, P.E. instructor and vice principal.

But then, who really had a choice? Certainly not I.

The tensions inside the dance class run higher than they would in normal PE.  Drama is in the air.  Past rivals in the same room create a hostile environment. No guys to insert humor in the situation – it’s downright catty.

“We wanted to make it an all-girl class so they would feel more comfortable” said Namkung.

Instead, shouting matches break out between teacher and student, and one student screams at another the words “bitch” “hoe”, “shut the f**k up”, as every curse word in the book flies across the room, faster than a pirouette. And more lethal.

“It’s on them being in the dance class. Those are the same girls that complained and even failed my class,” said Namkung.

For those of us who didn’t complain or fail PE ,this seems a harsh punishment.  Dealing with endless backtalk, shouting matches, and disrespectful comments in the room discourages girls to remain in the class.

However, girls who enjoy dancing just ignore the drama.

“I just like dancing,” said Nia Bell, a junior.

Students face the problem of  an indifferent administation  that discourages the  idea  of transferring out of dance (especially since the vice principal  teaches P.E.).  It became extremely difficult and time consuming for a girl to attempt to switch dance class to PE.

“It depends on the time of the year.  But some manage to switch.  It’s really based on time,” said Golden.

Until I can switch back into P.E., I’ll feel like I’m in a telenovela.