ACLU Sides With Girl Denied Spot On Football Team


UPDATED: Thursday August 15, 2013 11:44 PM

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is supporting a 12 year old girl's effort to take to the football field.                   
 
Makhaela Jenkins has been told she won't be able to play on the football team at Liberty Union Middle School in Fairfield County because she's a girl.
 
Makhaela and her family say they plan to fight the decision. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sided with the Jenkins Thursday.
 
The ACLU says the school is using "outdated and untrue stereotypes about gender to decide who participates in athletics" and that Ohio courts have ruled since the 70's that "if a girl wants to play football, and there is not an equivalent team for girls, she must be allowed to try out for the boys' team."
 
Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools Superintendent Paul Mathews says the district is meeting its legal requirement, which he says is to provide an equal number of sports activities for girls and boys.
 
"We have a menu of offerings for our students, and the request she had didn't fit with the menu of offerings we have. We want to treat everyone equally," Mathews said.
 
"The only difference we have in our programs is that we offer volleyball for girls exclusively, and football is for the boys."
 
Mathews says those decisions are based on where the district expects to have the biggest participation.
 
He says the district has cross country, soccer, and golf for both girls and boys.
 
He says the Board of Education is behind the decision not to let Makhaela play football. He believes the decision will stand up to any potential legal challenges.
 
Makhaela's mother was not available to speak with 10tv Thursday night.
 
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