Scott: Now Keith is in the newsroom and working on a story about a Pennsylvania teen who wouldn’t back down from anybody to play her sport.
Keith: Yeah, Scott. Audriana Beattie wrestled for her right to compete with the boys, and a judge has her back. Take a look.
Brian Beattie: Keep moving!
Keith: Audriana Beattie didn’t win the last time she faced off against a boy but she is still all smiles. And that is because she won an even bigger battle.
Audriana Beattie: You don’t know why stuff is fun. It’s just fun.
Keith: Back in 2012, Audriana transferred to the Line Mountain School District in Herndon, Pennsylvania. She wrestled for one season as a sixth grader on a co-ed team but she was told she couldn’t compete in seventh grade. That is when girls are no longer allowed to wrestle with the boys and there is no girl’s team for her to compete on.
Audriana: If I’m not able to wrestle, how am I going to be able to get a scholarship? Or how am I going to be able to achieve my goals I have?
Keith: Audriana’s family was frustrated but wouldn’t give up.
Brian: Since she wanted to do it, I just wanted to encourage her. And I certainly never told her that it wasn’t something for her.
Keith: They fought back time and time again asking the school district to change the policy. The school argued that the, quote, ‘physical size, speed and power of male athletes could create a competitive disadvantage and a hazard to the health and safety of female athletes’.
Brian: Push! Push, Auddie! Push!
Keith: Audriana’s father disagreed.
Brian: I feel she’s just as safe as the boys out there. They have referees, you know, medical personnel that are there to take care of injuries.
Keith: With few other options, the family filed a federal lawsuit arguing their daughter was being denied the equal rights guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment pretty much says no state can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and no person in the state can be denied equal protection of the laws.
They also got a temporary restraining order against the school. That allowed their daughter to wrestle with the boys this season. One year into the battle, a federal judge agreed with the family. The school district finally backed down and officially got rid of the rule last week, now allowing girls to compete with boys.
Audriana says wrestling has taught her that skill is often more important than strength. Now she has no intention of ever backing down.
Audriana: I’m just going to keep on trying my hardest and to try to be able to beat some of the boys to be able to do good.
Keith: And it is not just wrestling. Girls are making their way onto high school football teams and others as well.
Scott: Thanks, Keith.
Now, we want to hear from you on this one. Should girls be able to compete against boys in all sports? Head to ChannelOne.com and tell us what you think.