Line Mtn. board OKs female wrestling participation
MANDATA - Seventh-grade student Audriana Beattie is allowed to wrestle on the Line Mountain School District all-male wrestling team after months of legal battles between the school board and her parents, Brian and Angie Beattie.
At Tuesday night's school board meeting, the members unanimously voted 9-0 to allow Audriana to participate in the program and to rescind any previous policies that would prevent her and other athletes from participating on sports teams based on gender in future school years.
"We stood up for what we thought was right," President Troy Laudenslager said after the meeting. "The law is the law, and we will follow it."
However, while Audriana was victorious, the legal battle is not over because the district will be fighting more than $140,000 worth of Beatties' attorney fees, of which the district finds "outrageous." (See other story).
The district's attorney will file the proposed four-page consent decree, which was provided to The News-Item by Laudenslager, at a later date.
A case management conference between court personnel and legal representation from the two parties is scheduled to take place via telephone at 1:30 p.m. today, at which time the decree will be presented.
According to the paperwork, the district will treat girls with "the same benefits as boys."
The district will also not retaliate against Beattie, her family and any other female student who lawfully opposes practices that violate federal and state constitutions or seek to join a historically male team.
The district agreed to "pay reasonable attorneys' fees and costs" to the Beatties in an amount to be determined by the court or upon mutual agreement between the parties.
Audriana had wrestled for Line Mountain's elementary program, but last school year her parents were told of the district's gender-specific policy that would prevent her from competing on the junior and senior high levels.
The issue came to a head in April when the Beatties confronted the school board. With no resolution, they filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
A federal judge granted both - a temporary order on Nov. 1 and the preliminary injunction on Jan. 13. The orders allowed Audriana to continue wrestling with the district program until the case was resolved.