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ACLU sues for Winamac girl who wants to play football

August 29, 2013

A northern Indiana girl who was denied the opportunity to try out for her middle school’s football team has filed a gender-equality lawsuit in federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued on behalf of the 12-year-old Winamac Community Middle School student, claiming that no boy who wants to play is turned away, but that the girl, C.B., was told to try out for volleyball or cross country instead.

C.B.’s father, Joseph Button, asked the school’s principal and athletic director if C.B. could try out and was told girls weren’t allowed to join the team, according to a statement from ACLU. Denying C.B. an opportunity to try out for football solely based on her gender violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ACLU argues.

“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,” ACLU-Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement.

The complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend division, seeks a declaration that the school’s actions are unconstitutional, an injunction that would allow C.B to play on the team, plus attorney fees and other relief. The case is C.B. v. Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation, 3-13-cv-901-TLS.
 

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