Calif. student with disability sues to be part of school’s baseball team

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A disabled student in California has filed suit against his school district alleging that he has been barred from his high school's baseball team, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Ayala baseball team —
The Ayala baseball team —

As first reported by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Ayala High student David Barker has filed a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District in connection with his inability to gain a place in the school's baseball program. Barker is deaf and suffers from cerebral palsy and controlled seizure disorder, but according to documents filed in court he has still managed to play baseball since he was just 9 years old.

According to Barker's lawyer, Jason Ryan Thompson, Barker was a part of Ayala's freshman team but was then told that he would not be allowed on the school's junior varsity team after winter tryouts in late 2010.

While Barker was willing to accept that he not participate in games during the traditional spring season, he and his lawyer claim that the program's unwillingness to let him participate in practices, and summer and winter games violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

At a forthcoming hearing scheduled for Feb. 29, Barker and his family will seek a temporary restraining order which would force the district to place him on one of the Ayala teams.

In the meantime, the family's lawyer insists that all their son wants is to be able to participate as a part of the school's baseball program in some way. The school refuses. 

"They don't want to let him physically participate with the team at all," Thompson told the Daily Bulletin. "They feel he didn't score high enough in tryouts, and that's that. … They refused to compromise."

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