October 22, 2018

PLF client Freddie Linden wins state dance championship

By Caleb R. Trotter Attorney

On behalf of South Dakota high school student and dance phenom Freddie Linden, in April we sued the South Dakota High School Activities Association to put an end to the rule that prohibits boys from participating in competitive dance in the state. Shortly after filing our lawsuit, the Association did the right thing and suspended its discriminatory rule for the 2018-19 school year. As a result, Freddie was able to try out for—and make—his school’s dance team.

As it turns out, more good news is in store. On Friday, Freddie and his team (Dakota Valley High School) competed in the South Dakota state dance championship and won! This is Dakota Valley’s ninth championship in a row, but the first team to include a boy. PLF extends our congratulations to Freddie and his teammates for an amazing year. And to Freddie: thanks for letting us help get you out on that dance floor.

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Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association

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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