Miltenberg: “Santa Maria Parochial School Faces Discrimination Lawsuit for Canceling Football Game Against Team With Female Player,” KEYT

9.27.21

A parochial school in Santa Maria faces a gender discrimination lawsuit after refusing to play a high school football game against an opponent with a girl on its team. In the suit filed last Wednesday, plaintiff Sonya Herrera alleges Valley Christian Academy (VCA) violated the civil rights of her daughter, identified as E.H., by canceling a football game against Cuyama Valley High School. The lawsuit states VCA canceled the game because E.H., a wide receiver on the Cuyama Valley team, is a girl … The lawsuit said “E.H.” felt “humiliated, embarrassed and shocked by the public display of unwelcomed reactions and conduct” by the VCA players, as well as coaches, athletic director(s), and school administrators.” In the letter attached to the lawsuit, Mikkelson said the VCA Parent/Student Handbook states, “There is to be no physical contact between boys and girls at Valley Christian Academy.” Mikkelson also wrote, “As we train our young men in this world, we want to train them rigorously to admire and value women as precious and worthy of respect. We recognize that we live in a society that exploits women and treats them as commodities rather than with the respect and honor that they deserve. Football is a violent game, and we understand the value of such in training our young men within the boundaries of an organized sport. However, because of the nature of its contact, we will not play a team that has a female as part of its football team.” The lawsuit states Valley Christian Academy canceled the regular season game against Cuyama Valley after the scrimmage, leaving a hole in both schools’ schedule. ā€¯Valley Christian intentionally discriminated against this young woman based on her gender by deliberately refusing to allow her to play football on their premises because she is female,” said Andrew Miltenberg, an attorney representing the girl player. “Valley Christian, as a member school of the California Interscholastic Federation, was aware of its obligations under the auspices of the CIF and its obligations to comply with Title IX. Despite such knowledge, Valley Christian created an environment which facilitated and promoted discrimination against females in interscholastic athletics for the purpose of depriving female athletes of educational opportunities based on sex. Teaching young men to objectify women is irresponsible and perpetuates demeaning gender stereotypes. Valley Christian must not continue to shame and patronize women.”

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