• Pregnant teen fights back after suspension from volleyball team

    Date: 12.17.09 | by Judge Tom.

    Mackenzie McCollom is a high school senior at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas. She was also the starting setter on her school’s volleyball team, but her position changed as soon as the school learned of her pregnancy.

    Mackenzie was in her first trimester when the athletic coordinator ordered her off the team until she provided a note from her doctor clearing her to play volleyball. Once Mackenzie provided the note, the coach limited Mackenizie’s playing time to the start of each match. Mackenzie explained that previously as the starting setter, she was not on the bench as she was during the rest of the season.

    Mackenzie McCollom

    “I was on the court all the time, I didn’t come off. I played all the way around.”

    Mackenzie and her family believe that her playing time was reduced on account of her pregnancy. They have filed a Title IX complaint against the school claiming that the school district discriminated against Mackenzie on the basis of sex and retaliated against her. Title IX prohibits sexual discrimination in athletics. The Department of Education is currently investigating the matter.

    The controversy has divided students at Mackenzie’s school as well as the community. A student recently set up a Facebook group in support of the coach and the school which already has more than 1,500 members as of early December, 2009.

    Mackenzie and her mother hope the complaints against the school result in changed policies to include pregnant athletes in sports.

    Do you believe the coach made the right decision in limiting and reducing Mackenzie’s playing time? If so, what about the fact that Mackenzie had a note from her doctor saying that it was okay for her to play? Do you view the school and coach’s actions as discriminatory? Why or why not?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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