ACLU of Indiana Files Suit for Winamac Girl Who Wants to Play Football

Affiliate: ACLU of Indiana
August 30, 2013 12:00 am

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INDIANAPOLIS – Gender equality must be recognized in many areas including the football field according to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of a Winamac student against her school.

The plaintiff, 12 year-old “C.B.,” is a seventh grader at Winamac Community Middle School in the Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation. The school’s seventh grade football team is made up solely of male students, and no male student who wants to join is turned away.

C.B. and her father, Joseph Button, asked the principal and athletic director if she could try out for the team, but were told that girls were not allowed to join, and that C.B. should instead participate in volleyball or cross country. The school’s decision not to allow C.B. to try out for the football team solely because of her gender violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said, “Numerous courts have recognized that gender is not a valid excuse for keeping young women out of previously all-male sports. Equal protection demands equality of treatment.”

“The ACLU of Indiana works to secure gender equality and ensure that all women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity, free from discrimination based on gender,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. “We should maintain the momentum, built over the last 40 years, in which we have seen the benefit young women receive from active and full involvement in school athletics.”

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