Ark. mother sues district, state for constitutional violation after son cut from varsity team

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

An Arkansas mother has sued her son's high school for cutting her son from the school's varsity basketball team, claiming that he was deprived the right of a full education because he was not allowed to take part in school athletics.

The Mamuelle boys basketball team — iHigh
The Mamuelle boys basketball team — iHigh

As reported by Arkansas Matters and USA Today, among other sources, Teresa Bloodman, the mother of a Maumelle (Ark.) High freshman, filed suit against the school, district and state after her son was replaced on the school's basketball team following a third set of tryouts for the team that re-incorporated members of the school's football team.

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Bloodman's son, who is a minor and was not named in the suit, spent two months as part of the team after qualifying through two tryouts in August only to be replaced three months later by a member of the football team, as were nine of the team's 11 original players.

Mamuelle High School —
Mamuelle High School —

While those replacements might stoke claims of favoritism, the lawsuit filed by Bloodman goes much further, claiming that her son has a constitutional right to participate in school sports, as you can read in the excerpt from the suit directly below.

"…the deprivation of the right to a full and complete education which includes competition in sports and consequently athletic scholarships impairs John Doe of a property right guaranteed under both the U.S. and State Constitutions."

The suit further alleges that the sheer lack of an orderly appeals process for students who were cut is also a violation of due process.

While the case itself could serve as a watershed in how schools hold tryouts for varsity sports, the attorney for the Pulaski County Special School District is confident that it will be seen as groundless once it is further examined in a court of law.

"The simple issue here is whether or not a student has a right to participate in extracurricular activities; be it band, choir or whatever," Pulaski County Special School District attorney Jay Bequette told Arkansas Matters. "There is no clearly established right of parents to have their children compete in interscholastic athletics."

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