HSLDA Wins Case Against Florida Sports Association
Case: B Family v. Florida
High School Athletic Association|
by Joshua Kamakawiwoole
On July 19, 2010, Home School Legal Defense Association won a
victory against an athletic association that was discriminating against homeschoolers.
HSLDA’s suit against the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) was highlighted in the March/April 2010 issue of The Home School Court Report. In this case, the FHSAA denied two homeschooled students’ requests for waivers to play soccer for a local private school, with the only rationale for the decision being homeschooling.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE STUDENTS
WAIVERS AND THOSE
WHO DID NOT WAS
One of those students, Caleb Brown (name changed to protect privacy), had played soccer with a local private school for several years. He also played on a club team over the summer. When the private school discontinued its soccer program, he sought to play at a second local private school, Oak Hall. At the same time, three other homeschoolers from the summer club team also moved over to Oak Hall—two of them enrolling as students.
Since the club team’s director is also the coach at Oak Hall, all four players needed a waiver from the FHSAA. (This was to demonstrate that the four new players had not been recruited by the private school.) Initially, all four waiver requests were denied; after a series of appeals, the FHSAA Board of Directors approved waivers for the two
enrolled students, but denied the waivers for the two homeschoolers.
This was a clear case of discrimination. The circumstances and evidence were identical in all four cases. The only difference between the students who obtained waivers and those who did not was homeschooling, as confirmed by at least one board member.
After an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate with the FHSAA to change its decision, HSLDA sued on Caleb's behalf.
With oral arguments scheduled for July 19, HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris flew to Florida and prepared to demonstrate how the FHSAA ruling violated the Craig Dickinson Act and other Florida education statutes. Not only was Caleb being discriminated against because he was homeschooled, but also the ruling prevented Caleb from participating in any other sports activities (such as the Oak Hall football team) for 365 days.
Before any arguments were made, the FHSAA changed its decision and allowed Caleb to play for Oak Hall. The case was dismissed.
Joshua Kamakawiwoole is HSLDA’s litigation assistant.
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