No Right To Extracurricular Activities

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Is a student’s participation in his school’s sports team a legal right or a privilege?

A New Jersey dad is suing his son’s high school because his son was kicked off the track team. The lawsuit is asking for $40 million. The father said that children have rights – and that is true. A coach can’t decide who gets to play if his decisions are based on discrimination.

Here, the school’s official reason for cutting the student is because he was absent from practice too often. But the father said that “participation in extracurricular activities is a right”. Not true. Students have the legal right to an education and can sue if that right is being denied. But participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, not a legal right.

Schools are allowed to set nondiscriminatory eligibility rules for who gets to participate. And a school doesn’t need to base its decision either on how quickly you run or how loudly you complain.

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