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Pregnant Teenage Athlete Cries Discrimination After Being Sidelined

By Kelly Turner on December 10th, 2009

Volleyball_game-MDSenior volleyball star Mackenzie McCollum was ordered off the Arlington Heights High School volleyball team in Fort Worth, Texas, by the school’s athletic coordinator after it was discovered she had become pregnant, until she could provide a note from her doctor giving clearance, according Good Morning America.

After she got the note with the A-OK from her doctor, 17-year-old McCollum discovered her coach, Jack Warren, spilled the beans about her pregnancy to her teammates,  and that her playtime was slashed dramatically, even though her doctor said it was perfectly safe for her to participate.

“He told me that he always does this before people move up and before the seniors leave, and then I looked on the court and everyone else was still there,” McCollum said during an interview. “I felt like this was the one thing that I could count on … that everything would be OK and everything would work out and then that, too, was taken away, so it made me feel like I was kind of left with nothing to really count on.”

McCallom’s mother, Barbara Horton, filed four complaints against the district alleging gender discrimination.  The government has subsequently opened an investigation, as federal law prohibits such acts in athletics.

“My goal is for them to change their policies to include pregnant athletes,” Horton said, “to nurture pregnant athletes, and to make sure that these athletes are successful.”

The Fort Worth Independent School District claims that their only concern was McCollum’s health and safety and released a statement to ABC News, saying, “… we believe our foremost concern through the entirety of this episode has been for the safety and the rights of the student. We strongly contend neither the student’s rights, district policy, state or federal law has been violated.”

Personally, if I were this child’s mother, I would be less concerned with filing complaints and more concerned with preparing as much as possible for a teen pregnancy.  It’s not that this issue isn’t important, but sometimes you have to deal with the most pressing issues and let the others slide, and unborn baby definitely takes precedent.

It’s your call: Do you think the coach, and district that supported him, were out of line, or just looking out for the student and unborn child’s safety?


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