The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

November 13, 2013

Motion to allow girl to wrestle fails

— MANDATA — Line Mountain’s decision to appeal a federal court’s injunction that allows a girl to register for the all-boy middle school wrestling team is a “distraction” and waste of taxpayer money, board member Lamont Masser said Tuesday night before motioning to allow the seventh-grader to join the squad.

But not one of the other eight school board members seconded his motion.

Brian and Angie Beattie, of Herndon, filed the federal lawsuit in Williamsport last month, claiming Line Mountain’s policy violated the civil rights of their daughter, Audriana, by preventing her from joining the squad.

Line Mountain’s rules prohibit boys and girls from being teammates in close contact sports because students of both genders have a “right to be protected from undesired contact of sensual body parts from a person of the opposite sex.”

U.S. Middle District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann last month issued an injunction that allows Audriana to join the team.

In briefs filed in federal court urging Brann to avoid a permanent injunction, school board president Troy Laudenslager and varsity wrestling coach Mike Martz said that allowing a female to practice with or compete against males increases the possibility of sexual harassment allegations.

Martz said he has serious concerns that any of his male wrestlers would want to have a female practice partner, and that he is not opposed to girls being part of the team if they have a female practice partner.

He is not comfortable with a girl on the squad because it may raise issues of sexual harassment, Martz said, and there is danger of a female being injured because her body characteristics are different than that of a male.

It would be difficult for a male to practice a move called the “buttdrag” on a female and vice-versa, Martz said.

Laudenslager, who has coached elementary and high school students, said in the briefing the continual, close physical contact involved in wrestling merits separation between males and females.

Brann signed an order Oct. 31 that prevented Line Mountain from taking action that would interfere with Audriana joining the team.

Audriana wrestled last year on a Line Mountain youth team against boys. Prior to that, she wrestled when her family lived in LeMars, Iowa.

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