To The Editor:
I am writing this letter about the concern of a local gymnastics gym not hiring males, after the accusations of David Schneider. I do not support the decisions Schneider possibly made in any way. My concern is the business not hiring male instructors after the accusations.
In a way I see the owner/director’s point of view, we want to protect the kids and provide a safe environment for everyone. But as a business, I don’t think it is appropriate to punish all male instructors from being hired from one person’s possible mistake.
I have been a male tumbling instructor for about five years. I think not allowing male instructors for your business could possibly eliminate that positive role model for someone or could possibly ruin a child’s dream of becoming a tumbling instructor. Further, reading more of the new rules and guidelines, I interpret the rule “No coach is ever allowed alone with a participant” as private lessons not being available. Some students need that extra one-on-one time to succeed at their skills. At the current dance studio I work at, we have smaller classes because the directors want students to succeed to their full potential, and getting the one-on-one time helps them do that.
Although I agree with some of the new rules and guidelines, I think there could be other alternatives to address this situation. For example, you could hire a male instructor to only teach male classes, especially if male students are serious about gymnastics. Personally, I would rather have a male child learn men’s gymnastics from a male instructor. As an owner/director, I would think you would know that there is a slight difference between male and female gymnastics.
Another suggestion would be doing extensive training on spotting appropriately and professionally. It can be as easy as doing a staff training day where all the staff come in and learn proper techniques by one person. That way everyone gets the same amount of training by one person. You could do refresher courses every couple of months or at the beginning of every season.
Lastly, I think that it is important to note that men are not the only people who can commit sexual assault, women are capable of it too. I hope this can be an educational experience for everyone.