After her 16-year-old son failed to make the varsity soccer team, a disappointed mother went a step or two further than most parents might. She filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that the teen is a victim of age and gender discrimination, Fox 2 reports. The family says the rules at Missouri's Ladue High School state that if a junior doesn't make it onto the varsity team, he can't play again on the junior varsity team; that way, students in lower grades can use the JV team to develop the skills they need to try out for varsity. The family wants the boy placed on the JV team, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. They first appealed the coach's decision to district administrators and the superintendent, both of whom sided with the coach; they then complained to the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, but ultimately sued because the office had no power to force the school to place the boy on a team.
The boy reportedly wanted to take the case to federal court. The family's lawsuit claims that the girls' soccer team does allow juniors to play on JV, which is where the sex discrimination comes in. "There are many schools across the country that have this policy that you either make varsity as a junior or you're out of the program," says the boy's stepfather, who is also one of the lawyers handling the case. "If someone said 'Cut all the blacks,' that would be illegal. And it's illegal for age too." He adds that per stats and rankings, the boy should have made varsity. But the coach testified in court that the only reason he said positive things about the boy's skills was to build up his self-esteem rather than making him feel worse after he had already failed to make the team, and he also testified that the school doesn't actually have a policy preventing juniors from playing on JV teams. He said it depends how many spots there are on the team and how many kids want to play. The judge is set to decide Monday. (Read more lawsuit stories.)