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We can't conceive of why the South Dakota High School Activities Association would refuse to rescind an unfair rule and instead choose a legal fight with the family of a Dakota Valley High School boy who wants to compete as a member of the school dance team (today, a team comprised entirely of girls)

As reported in an April 19 Journal story, Freddie Linden - a 15-year-old Dakota Valley High School freshman and accomplished dancer - is unable to participate in state-sanctioned dance tournaments because no boys' dance team exists and South Dakota prohibits mixed-gender teams.

As a result, Freddie's family (with support from the Pacific Legal Foundation) filed suit against the SDHSAA, citing the Constitution's 14th Amendment - the "equal protection" clause.

"The association has 21 days to answer the complaint," PLF attorney Joshua Thompson said in a statement to The Journal. "The case could go a number of different ways. We certainly hope that the association repeals the discriminatory rule, which they could do at any point. If they do so, we will drop our lawsuit. If they answer or move to dismiss, the litigation could take anywhere from six months to multiple years. It’s just really difficult to estimate these things."

In our minds, this isn't complex and a protracted court fight isn't necessary. This is about fairness and equality.

Shouldn't the SDHSAA want to do everything within its power to open doors to opportunities for all of its high school students to pursue their interests and demonstrate their skills through participation in the extracurricular activities of their choice?

Without delay, we urge the association to do what's right - drop the prohibition against mixed-gender teams and let Freddie dance.


Opinion editor

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