School won’t let 12-year-old girl play football because of “lusting” male teammates

"The best I can up with is that men and women are created equal but different," an official said of the decision

Topics: Sports, Sexism, Education, Religion, women, Women's Rights, women in sports, athletics, Athletes, Discrimination, gender discrimination, , ,

School won't let 12-year-old girl play football because of "lusting" male teammatesMadison Baxter (Credit: WSB-TV)

An Atlanta private school recently barred a 12-year-old girl from trying out for her school’s football team because her male teammates could have “impure thoughts” about her, according to Strong Rock Christian Academy administrator Patrick Stuart.

Madison Baxter’s mother Cassy Blythe told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV that “in the meeting with the CEO of the school [Stuart], I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her, and that the locker room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys.”

Stuart went on say: “The best I can up with is that men and women are created equal but different,” Blythe told Fox 5 Atlanta.

In a statement that richly explores the complexities of gender, nuances of adolescent sexuality and legacy of Title IX, Strong Rock Athletic Director Phil Roberts defended the school’s decision thusly: “Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports.”

Blythe thinks it’s absurd for the school to punish her daughter because of what boys may think or do, she says: “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. It shouldn’t be held against Maddy that the boys can’t control their urges and their thoughts. They need to learn how to handle what’s going on with them just like she needs to learn how to handle what’s going on with her growing up, and I think it could be a good learning experience for both the boys and any girls that decide to play at the school.”



Baxter is frustrated, too. Mostly, she says, because she really loved playing the sport in sixth grade: “I’m still taking it all in, knowing that I’m not gonna be able to have as much fun as I did last year. But really, it just really, really hurts, because knowing all that fun is gonna be taken away just because I’m a girl.”

h/t ThinkProgress / WND Education

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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