Girl denied chance to play football for her school
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ATWOOD, Tenn.– A West Tennessee student is denied the chance to play middle school football because she is a girl. Even though football season is still months away, there is controversy in Carroll County, and it involves a 13-year-old girl chasing her love for football. “She called me from the field house and told me that the coach told her she couldn’t play because the coach told her she was a girl,” Michelle Larsen, the girl’s mother, said. “They do not allow girls to play on the football team.” Thalia Townsend, 13, said she has played two seasons of football for West Carroll Elementary in fifth and sixth grade. Now she wants to play football here at West Carroll Junior and Senior High School. “I’m a girl. I don’t do a lot of girls’ stuff — I don’t paint my nails. I like to get outside and get muddy,” Townsend said. Townsend is a left tackle and defensive lineman, but according to Superintendent Eric Williams, the coach will not allow it. The school system said it is legal under Title Nine, which is a law created to give women equal rights. Townsend’s parents do not agree. “Softball is an alternative for baseball. That’s not an alternative for football,” Larsen said. “An alternative for football would be a girls football team.” Townsend said when she is on the field she has never had a problem because of who she is. She said most of the time boys do not even realize she is a girl until she takes her helmet off. The reason she is speaking out is because Townsend wants other girls to have the chance to be anything they want. “You’re just not a girl — you’re a person that has always wanted to do that one thing that you’re wanting to go for,” Townsend said. Townsend’s family said they plan to take legal action against the school system. Townsend will begin school at West Carroll in the fall.