An 11-year-old girl in Georgia has been banned from her school’s football team because of her gender, and it has started a controversy in a small town that’s showing all support for Maddy Paige.
The girl played defensive tackle on the team.
“I was put as defensive tackle – first string. [...] The coaches were really proud and my teammates — you know – pat on the back every time,” she describes.
She joined the team as a sixth grader at Strong Rock Christian Middle School in Locust Grove. At first, other parents didn’t realize that she was a girl, but upon finding out many were not pleased.
“The first sack that I made was in the fifth game. All the parents in the stands thought it was one of their boys. But when I stood up and they looked at their roster, and they saw it was me. I got amazing whoops and hollers,” Maddy adds.
The school informed her parents of the fact that she will not be on the team anymore, prompting a decision by Maddy’s mother to lobby for her daughter to be able to play.
“The coaches told me I did really well and that my teammates supported me, and then all of a sudden, that they were taking that away from me. It really is just sort of like taking a dream and just throwing it in the trash,” Maddy complains.
“What they’ve done here is they’ve taken Maddy, let her have that cake, then taken it away and they smashed it,” her mother comments.
According to ABC 15, the school board has not changed its policy and they sent a letter explaining that Maddy is to play girls’ sports.
“Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports,” they said in a statement.