A private Christian school in Georgia is maintaining its policy regarding gender and sports in spite of the objections of one female student, who wishes to continue playing on the school's boys' football team.
Maddy Blythe, a 12-year-old female student at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, Ga., is decrying the school's policy regarding gender and sports, as she has played on the boys' football team for the past year and wishes to keep playing.
The school, however, has responded by saying its policy dictates that middle school students play on their respective gender's team, and therefore Blythe will no longer be able to play on the boys' team next season.
"Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports," Phil Roberts, athletic director at the private Christian school, said in an emailed statement to the local NBC affiliate 11Alive News.
Still, Blythe and her mother, Cassy, are contesting the school policy and have created a Facebook page titled "Let Her Play" which seeks to gain support for Maddy and all female athletes wishing to play sports on male teams.
The school reportedly maintains, however, that as a private institution it may decide who can and who cannot play on what sports team.
Cassy Blythe wrote on her "Let Her Play" Facebook page that when Strong Rock Christian's CEO, Patrick Stuart, called the Blythes in to discuss Maddy's future, Stuart reportedly informed Cassy Blythe that her daughter could no longer play on the boys' football team because "men and women were created equal but different."
On the Facebook page, Blythe then proceeded to list the reasons why Stuart reportedly felt Maddy should not be on the boys' team: "he was worried the boys might have impure thoughts … the locker room talk might be a bit much for her to handle … boys and girls should not compete in any sport … there are other sports she can play … they are a private school and can make any decision they want [and] he prayed about it and this was the right thing to do."
"He also quoted the bible by saying that men and women are created equal but different and therefore should not be allowed to play the same sports," Blythe added on the "Let It Play" Facebook page.
The Blythe family is now conducting interviews with local media stations and attempting to garner support for Maddy's cause through social media.
Private schools in the U.S. differ from public schools in that when a student decides to attend a private school, they sign a contract with that institution which largely determines the students' rights.
The school's official mission statement is to "glorify God and partner with families in educating and inspiring their children to impact the world for Jesus Christ – The Strong Rock."
With that mission in mind we are committed to partnering with the home, church, and school to raise up a child to be a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ."
Additionally, the school states on its official website that it "does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs."
Cassy Blythe continues to argue that her daughter can handle playing on the boys' football team.
"My girl can handle herself. I've seen girls in the military. I've seen fellow female police officers who went out there and they busted tail and they were just as good and if not better in some aspects," Blythe, a former police officer, told CBS Atlanta.
Although the "Let Her Play" Facebook page has garnered over 2,000 "likes" since it was started on Tuesday, some commenters on the social media site and other chat forums object to Blythe being able to play on the boys' football team.
"Start an all-girl football team and play against the boys if you want to prove something. I have daughters and I support females in their goals but I think this is pushing it," one commenter on the NBC affiliate 11Alive News wrote.
Others argue that allowing Blythe to play on a boys' team opens up an entire new set of questions regarding gender and sports.
"This really isn't meant to be an inflammatory statement, but if you're saying she should be allowed to play football with the boys, should boys be allowed to play volleyball or softball with the girls?" questioned John Shumaker on the "Let Her Play" Facebook page.
Still others sought to defend the private school and encouraged Blythe to move her child to a different school which allows both genders to play on one sports team.
Strong Rock Christian School did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by The Christian Post on Friday, as all administrators are reportedly attending an out-of-town conference.