The mother of a St. Louis high school student filed a lawsuit after her son did not qualify for the varsity soccer team. After failing to make the cut for the varsity squad at Ladue High School, the boy was no longer allowed to play for the junior varsity team because the school wanted to give younger, less-skilled players a chance to play and develop their skills. The mother says that the school is discriminating against her son because of his age and gender.
The school does not allow juniors and seniors the chance to play on the boys' junior varsity team if they fail to make the cut for the varsity team, a rule that does not apply to the girls' teams. The boy's parents fought the decision with the school, taking it all the way to the superintendent of the district, before being told the coach's decision would stand.
After failing to get officials to overturn the coach's decision and allow their son to play on the J.V. team, they went to the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education, which also denied their complaint.
The school argued in a court that they do not have a specific policy on restricting older students from playing on J.V. teams, but that the decision is based on how many students try out each year.
The lawsuit also claimed that the coach gave preferential treatment to students who attended his paid soccer camps, accusing him of running a "pay to play" scheme, something the coach denied.
The parents said they understand that their son does not have the skill to play on the varsity team, but just want to him to be able to play on the J.V. team.
"We're not saying put him on varsity; we've never said that," the boy's stepfather told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We just say put him on junior varsity."
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