Girl sues school to join boys’ basketball team, gets expelled

Thursday February 2nd, 2017

A seventh grade girl in New Jersey was expelled from her school after filing a lawsuit to be allowed to join the boys’ basketball team, her family told the New York Post

Sydney Phillips had hoped to join the boys’ team after St. Theresa’s School, a private Catholic school, discontinued the girls’ team. When the school said the diocese did not allow co-ed teams, Phillips’s father filed a lawsuit. The family received a letter from a diocesan lawyer Wednesday that said Sydney and her sister were not welcome back at the school. 

“I am disgusted. How dare them? What did Katy do? What did Sydney do?” their father, Scott, told the Post. “I don’t know what we’re going to do next, but we’re still going to fight.”

After hearing that Phillips was not welcome on the boys’ team, the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the Fordham University women’s basketball team both reached out to invite her to practice with them. The family learned their daughters were being expelled while at the Liberty’s training facility. 

The suit was initially shot down by a judge, but the family filed an appeal arguing that private school athletic programs are governed by the same state organization in charge of public schools. The NJSIAA has a rule requiring girls be permitted to play on a boys’ team if the school does not offer a girls’ team, though that rule only applies to high schools. 

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