Press Release

Lawsuit challenges South Dakota’s ‘girls only’ rule for high school dance

Sioux Falls, South Dakota; April 12, 2018: At age 15, Freddie Linden is already a highly accomplished dancer, competing across the country on private dance teams. But under a state rule, the Dakota Valley High School freshman cannot join his high school’s dance team—because he is a boy.

“I almost felt like they were shaming him,” said Freddie’s mother, Stephanie Linden. “It was like, ‘you’re a boy so you shouldn’t dance because we’ve decided that boys should do football.’”

The South Dakota High School Activities Association’s rule established competitive dance as a “female-only” sport to purportedly comply with federal Title IX requirements. But in a lawsuit filed today in federal district court, Freddie argues the rule violates his constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

“Basing participation in athletics on outmoded stereotypes about what is proper for boys and what is proper for girls needs to be rooted out,” said PLF Senior Attorney Joshua P. Thompson. “South Dakota is intentionally discriminating against boys to comply with something that purports to be an interpretation of Title IX.”

PLF represents Freddie free of charge. A win will vindicate Freddie’s right to be treated equally, regardless of his sex—and to ensure that any boy in South Dakota who wants to compete in high school dance can do so.

The case is Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association. More information can be found at pacificlegal.org/linden.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Collin Callahan at ccallahan@pacificlegal.org.

Case Attorneys

Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights. Joshua was raised in … ›

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Caleb R. Trotter

Attorney

Caleb Trotter joined Pacific Legal Foundation in September 2015. He primarily litigates cases involving economic liberty, the First Amendment, school choice, and the administrative state. After growing up in Oklahoma, … ›

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Erin Wilcox

Attorney

Erin Wilcox joined PLF in 2018 and works primarily from Austin, Texas. She litigates cases around the country to secure the inalienable rights of all Americans to live responsibly and … ›

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Case Commentary

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By Caleb R. Trotter

South Dakota must let boys dance

Freddie Linden is a fifteen-year-old dancer who wants to try out for his South Dakota high school’s Competitive Dance team. Freddie began dancing when he was seven years old, and his … ›

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