There are a lot of ways parents can help kids deal with the disappointment of being cut from a school sports team. Suing the school is not usually one of them. But that’s exactly what one St. Louis mom did recently when her son was cut from the soccer team: She filed a federal lawsuit against the high school.
John Doe, as he’s referred in court documents, is a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in Eastern Missouri and played on the school’s junior varsity squad as a sophomore. As a junior, though, the coaches didn’t feel John’s skills had improved enough to play varsity and he was cut.
“[John] was right on the bubble of making the team this year and has some impressive attributes,” his coach Dave Aronberg told the family in an email. “However, there were a few holes in his game including technical ability and game decision making that put him behind a number of kids.”
At a lot of schools, John would simply continue to play on the JV team. At Ladue Horton Watkins, however, players aren’t allowed onto the JV team twice in order to make room for younger talent. And therein lies the basis of the mom’s legal complaint: She’s suing for John to be able to play JV again.
The mom is claiming that age and gender-based discrimination are at play because female students aren’t subject to the same rule. Moreover, there are only 19 kids on junior varsity and 25 spots. So even if John can’t make varsity, there’s room for him on JV. The family’s lawyer has also provided performance ratings from other coaches showing that John is better than some of the kids who made the varsity team as well. It should be interesting to see how the court comes down on the school’s rules. A judge is set to issue a ruling in this case today.
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