ST. LOUIS COUNTY — A federal judge said he will not issue a restraining order to put a boy on a Ladue Horton Watkins High School soccer team while a lawsuit and investigations are ongoing.
It all started when a boy was cut from the soccer team this summer. According to the lawsuit, the boy was one of eight juniors who didn't make any of the school's three boys' soccer teams this season. After a discussion between the boy's stepfather and the coach, the family believed their son was being discriminated because of his age and filed a lawsuit hoping to get him on a team.
The coach said the boy was "on the bubble" of making the varsity team, but didn't quite make the cut. He also said rostering juniors on the JV team would not be the best decision for the competitive development of the players or the program due to limited remaining eligibility. The third team — called the C Team — was essentially a freshmen team.
While that lawsuit is going on, the family sought a restraining order against the school which would force the school to put him on a team, but a judge denied that request. The judge said a policy barring juniors from the JV soccer team would not be unconstitutional because of its relation to eligibility and keeping a successful program. The decision also said he could not even prove the district had such a policy.
The family's lawyer said there is also a federal civil rights investigation into the decision.
The Ladue School District released the following statement in response to Monday's ruling:
On the afternoon of Oct. 1, 2018, the Ladue School District was informed that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division denied a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) which would have required that a junior boy (named John Doe in the request) be immediately placed on the high school’s junior varsity team from which he was cut earlier this year. The judge’s decision today applies only to the temporary restraining order and there is still a suit pending.
The district is grateful for and in agreement with the decision for the very reasons cited by the judge in the Memorandum and Order issued in answer to the request for a temporary restraining order (attached). The conclusion of this response states: “The Court concludes that the Dataphase factors weigh against the issuance of a TRO. Notably, Doe lacks a legal interest in participation, the evidence suggests that there is no policy of excluding juniors, and Plaintiff is unlikely to succeed on the merits.”