Cuyama Valley soccer player files gender inequality lawsuit against Valley Christian Academy | Local News



A Cuyama Valley High School A soccer player claimed in a federal lawsuit that a Christian school in Santa Maria refused to schedule games with the team because of her gender.

The lawsuit filed in federal court by Sonya Herrera, on behalf of her daughter, a player identified as EH, named Christian Academy of the Valley, First Baptist Church, Joel Mikkelson, VCA superintendent and senior church pastor, and several anonymous accused.

EH is one of two wide receivers on the Cuyama Valley High School varsity team, which competes in eight-a-side football.

“This action arises out of the heinous, intentional and blatant discrimination against the Plaintiff, a student athlete enrolled in Cuyama Valley High School (Cuyama Valley), by misogynistic and outdated ideals and policies by which the Defendants sought to minimize the athletic capacities of the applicant and to deprive her of sporting opportunities strictly because of her sex ”, indicates the lawsuit.

The problem arose out of a game in March at the Santa Maria Valley School campus where EH played the entire game as a wide receiver without a problem.

In addition to looking at the complainant in disgust “like she’s some kind of spectacle” after removing her helmet, VCA changed their football schedule because of the Cuyama player.

“Incredibly, the defendants then sought to justify their blatant discrimination by citing their biblical principles to protect women, which, ironically, are the same biblical principles that call for equality among all individuals,” the lawsuit states. “In reality, the defendants were only undermining the athletic ability of the plaintiff and stating that she was not capable of playing at the level of a man, thus describing the plaintiff as a weak, inadequate and entirely helpless creature strictly to because of her gender, and publicly humiliated her in the process.

In a letter to Superintendent Alfonso Gamino from Cuyama Valley Unified School District, Mikkelson of VCA said the student manual is based on the Bible, saying it “gives instructions on how men should treat women.”

“In our manual, one of our clearly defined boundaries is, ‘There should be no physical contact between boys and girls at Valley Christian Academy.’ “

He added that they train their boys to “admire and value women as precious and worthy of respect”.

“Football is a violent game, and we understand the value of it in training our young men within the confines of organized sport,” Mikkelson wrote. “However, due to the nature of her contact, we will not be playing against a team that has a woman on their football team.”

There is at least one player with the last name Mikkelson in the VCA Lions team, according to a list on MaxPreps.

According to the lawsuit, anonymous high school athletic officials reportedly informed VCA officials that refusing to play with Cuyama Valley because of a player’s gender violated federal and state laws, CIF rules and other regulations. governing interschool sports participation.

Specifically, the lawsuit lists five claims, including the violation of Title IX for gender discrimination and / or hostile environment, the violation of the 14th Amendment of equal protection rights, the violation of the California Education Code and the violation of civil rights law as well as intentionally inflicting distressing emotions.

The lawsuit, filed by the New York cabinet of Nesenhoff & Miltenberg LLP more Brian Hefelfinger from Ventura Palay Hefelfinger, claims damages, in particular for emotional and psychological harm, loss of educational and / or career opportunities, damage to reputation, past and future economic losses and loss of future career prospects as well as legal fees and legal costs.

They are also seeking an injunction to prohibit the implementation and enforcement of unequal treatment of high school athletes based on gender.

Mikkelson had not seen the trial, he said on Tuesday. Once served with a copy of the document, defendants should file a response to the allegations.

Not named in the lawsuit, Gamino reiterated the district’s support for Title IV and the goal of promoting equal opportunities for all athletes.

The girl who plays on the team is an outstanding student-athlete, he added.

The Bears and Lions are two of the five teams making up the Coast Valley League along with Maricopa, Coast Union and Coastal Christian.

Cuyama’s college football team are 4-0 in non-league games this season. The VCA Lions are 3-0.

According to an online schedule on MaxPreps, the VCA Lions are scheduled to play the Cuyama Valley Bears on October 16. (A calendar on VCA says it’s October 15, but Mikkelson blamed a clerical error.)

The status of this game remains unresolved, with Mikkelson telling Noozhawk that VCA will abide by the rules of the CIF South Section and the League of the Valley of the Coast.

– Noozhawk North County Editor-in-Chief Janene Scully can be reached at . (JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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