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ACLU Helping Girl Fight For Her Right To Play Football

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:19:34-04

ATWOOD, Tenn. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of a 13-year-old West Tennessee girl who has been fighting for her right to continue playing football.

The Jackson Sun reported the organization sent a letter Wednesday to the West Carroll Special School District in Atwood urging officials to let Thalia Townsend join the team. Townsend, who was set to start seventh grade at West Carroll Jr./Sr. High fall 2015, said she was turned away from football tryouts in May. She played left tackle and defensive linewoman in elementary school.

Townsend's mother, Michelle Larsen, said school officials suggested her daughter try out for softball.

ACLU-Tennessee legal director Thomas H. Castelli said in a statement that the Constitution guaranteed "equal access" for girls to participate in sports.

School principal Dexter Williams declined to comment. 

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)