ACLU helping girl fight for right to play football

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking up the cause of a 13-year-old West Tennessee girl who is fighting for her right to continue playing football.

The Jackson Sun reports the organization sent a letter Wednesday to the West Carroll Special School District in Atwood urging officials to let Thalia Townsend join the team. Townsend, who will start seventh grade at West Carroll Jr./Sr. High this fall, said she was turned away from football tryouts in May. She played left tackle and defensive linewoman in elementary school.

Townsend’s mother, Michelle Larsen, said school officials suggested her daughter try out for softball.

ACLU-Tennessee legal director Thomas H. Castelli said in a statement that the Constitution guarantees “equal access” for girls to participate in sports.

School principal Dexter Williams declined to comment.

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