Personal Liberties

Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association

School’s “girls-only” dance team policy is a constitutional hustle

Fifteen-year-old Freddie Linden of North Sioux Falls, South Dakota can now lace up his dancing shoes as part of his school’s competitive dance team. The accomplished dancer already competes nationally on private dance teams, but the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) established competitive dance as a “female-only” sport and prohibited Freddie from joining his high school team—because he is a boy. The rule is a misguided effort to comply with federal Title IX requirement that violates Freddie’s constitutional right to equal protection of the laws. Less than a month after PLF filed a federal lawsuit on Freddie’s behalf, the SDHSAA suspended its discriminatory rule for the upcoming school year, and will consider a permanent rule change in the coming months. Freddie has since made the school dance team for the upcoming school year—topping all scores at team tryouts.

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