April 12, 2018

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

Freddie Linden banned from 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 Documents

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About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 12 victories out of 14 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

For Media: If you are on deadline or need immediate assistance, please call/email our media team at 202-465-8733 or media@pacificlegal.org

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