Target: Audrianna Beattie, female wrestler and feminist
Goal: Applaud student for refusing to accept discrimination on her middle school wrestling team
Twelve-year-old Audrianna Beattie has loved wrestling since the third grade. In the fourth and fifth grades, she wrestled against both girls and boys during her membership in a local youth club in LeMars, Iowa. Then her family moved to Herndon, but she was still able to keep up her favorite sport by joining a team for youths through sixth grade, where she practiced and competed with mostly boys and finished with a 5-3 record. Audrianna said of wrestling, “I like it because it keeps me fit…I’ve been bullied in the past, and [wrestling] helps me get over it. I can take my anger and use it, but not in a mean way, and do good.”
When she started the seventh grade in Line Mountain School District at the local high school, she couldn’t understand why the district wouldn’t allow her to wrestle on the only team. Her parents filed suit against the district for discrimination, citing state and federal law, namely the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Recently Audrianna and her father, as well as school officials, testified before U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann at Herman T. Schneebeli Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
Audrianna defended her wrestling career against feeble accusations from district and school officials, including the argument that she shouldn’t wrestle on the all-male team because the contact between sexes will cause psychological damage because of sexual implications or Audrianna losing all the time because she’s a girl. She responded, “I’m on a boys team. It doesn’t matter that I’m a girl, because I’m just as good as they are.”
Board member Ron Neidig claimed to be concerned for her health as a result of the single match he saw her wrestle in, which according to his testimony “ended quickly.” When the match was over, she was upset and looked to be in pain.” But Audrianna countered that male wrestlers often cry or are visibly upset after losing a match, and that she had been advised by her parents and teachers if she felt an inappropriate touch or if she felt she was being taken advantage of, she should push the person away and remove herself from the situation. Clearly Audrianna is a smart young student whose passion for wrestling transcends small ideas like gender discrimination.
By signing this petition, you are applauding Audrianna’s courage in refusing to accept discrimination in her school district, and in choosing to testify for justice. You are encouraging her to pursue her passion for wrestling despite the discrimination that has met her thus far.
Dear Audrianna Beattie,
You are an inspiration to so many girls who want to be involved in sports that are traditionally thought of as “boys only.”
Thank you for stepping up to end discrimination in school sports! Thank you for showing girls everywhere that they can pursue whatever sports they like to keep fit and active. I urge you to continue to follow your passion for wrestling, and to keep fighting for girls’ rights to wrestle.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons