LM gender participation policy officially abolished
MANDATA - A final vote Tuesday of the Line Mountain School Board abolished a policy that spurred legal grappling between the district and the family of a female wrestler.
Policy 123.1, Gender Participation on Athletic Teams, is no more.
It was contested in federal court by Brian and Angie Beattie, the parents of seventh-grader Audriana Beattie, whose attorneys argued that it was discriminatory.
Legal counsel for Line Mountain had fought back, arguing that the policy was in place for the safety of both Beattie and male wrestlers, and also prevents potentially awkward situations and sexual contact.
Audriana Beattie began competing as a wrestler as an elementary student while living in Iowa. Her family relocated to the Line Mountain School District, and last year as a sixth-grader she continued wrestling with boys on a local youth team.
She had sought to compete with the all-male junior high wrestling team. The policy barred her initially but she won permission in November prior to the start of the season when a federal judge granted a temporary injunction allowing her to participate while the case played out in court. That move was made permanent when the Beatties won a preliminary injunction in January.
A motion by a school board director at a November meeting to end the dispute and allow Beattie to wrestle garnered no support from the other eight directors. But the district relented late last month and avoided trial when the school board voted unanimously to adopt a consent decree to rescind the policy. Tuesday's vote did just that, opening up the potential for any female student at Line Mountain to participate on any athletic team regardless of gender.
The district is also required by the decree to no longer refer to athletic teams as "boys teams." It doesn't say anything about use of the term "girls teams" or the potential for a male to participate on a historically female team.
Despite these actions, the case isn't exactly over. There's still the matter of more than $140,682 in attorney fees her parents, Brian and Angie Beattie, want the district to pay. The district has said the fees are excessive and redundant.