MENLO PARK (KCBS) – Eight-year-old Linnea Lindblom will not be allowed to play on the boys’ basketball team this year, but her case has led park officials to reconsider why city league teams aren’t co-ed.
For two years, the four-foot-six shooter has played at her local YMCA on teams of mostly boys. The third grader needed an exception to play in the city league, though, since those teams are separated by gender.
“She’s disappointed, but at the same time I think she puts it in perspective that it’s not the end of the story at this point,” said her father, Dan Lindblom.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission turned down her request to play on the third grade boys’ team, instead moving her up to a fourth grade girls’ team.
“I emphasized to her that this is a step in a larger debate,” Lindblom said.
The commissioners said they had no problem letting girls onto the boys’ teams even though they denied this exemption, said Commissioner Andy Kirkpatrick.
“I think people like the rules to be established and organizations to follow the rules,” he said.
The question they disagreed on was how to go about integrating the teams. Commissioner James Cebring was the only one who voted to let Linnea play now.
“I was really hoping that we could have narrowly decided the basketball question,” he said.
Instead the commission will rethink how city league teams are organized in all sports rather than making a narrow decision affecting one sport, Kirkpatrick said.
The gender segregation policy will be reviewed at the commission’s February meeting. Kirkpatrick expects some kind of action plan in place by March 2011, he said.
“This is probably not a difficult thing to solve in the end, but I think it’s worth taking the time to do the right thing for the community,” Kirkpatrick said.
New rules could be in place by next season.
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