12-year-old Madison Baxter loves football.
As noted by Think Progress, she’s played the game since 2nd grade, and she’s pretty good at it too. She won a starting spot on her 6th grade squad last year.
But unless Baxter’s parents can convince her school otherwise, her playing days are done.
The school, Strong Rock Christian Academy in Atlanta, told Baxter and her parents that she isn’t welcome at this year’s tryouts.
Male teammates may begin to have “impure thoughts” about her. Here’s what Madison’s mother, Cassy Blythe, had to say about their meeting with the school principle.
“In the meeting with the CEO of the school [Patrick 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,” she said.
“He said, ‘The best I can [come] up with is that men and women are created equal but different.’ And he said he’s been praying about it and came to the conclusion that he was making the right decision for the school.”
Madison and her parents aren’t accepting the school’s verdict as final. No legal action has been taken at this time, but some may be coming. The family started a Facebook page recently that has already picked up 15,000 passionate followers.
For Madison and countless other female athletes out there, let’s hope the school faces enough pressure to overturn their decision. Over 1,500 girls played high school football in America last year. They can handle it, and so can the boys. Hormones or “impure thoughts” are not an excuse to keep a child from playing a sport they love. The solution to this problem is not to kick Madison out of the league, but rather to teach the young boys a lesson about controlling themselves.
The well spoken 7th grader recently posted a great message on her causes Facebook page. Here’s an excerpt from it, but do yourself a favor and check the whole thing out.
“When I was told my gender would prevent me from continuing my dream I was crushed. I felt like my heart fell on the floor and the school stomped on it. I worked hard to earn my spot and I deserve to play. I will never allow someone to tell me I can't do something I've already proved I can do. I might be young but don't think that will stop me. My voice will be heard and I will fight for what is right.”