ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Private and religious school families have sent a demand letter to St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health Acting Director Dr. Emily Doucette today asking for equal right to play youth sports without fear of penalties.
The group says the ban on high school sports has resulted in “disparate treatment” of private and public schools. It wants the county’s Youth Sports Guidelines issued on July 29 to be revoked.
The Thomas More Society, a non-profit law firm, says they want to hold county officials accountable for their “Constitutional misdeeds”.
The letter says Doucette has threatened to close schools and end live instruction if a school relocates its athletic competitions outside the county, something that several public schools have done, with no penalty or threat of one.
“As a result, these public school athletes are not being denied their 2020 recruitment season,” stated Thomas More Society Special Counsel Mary Elizabeth Coleman. “By contrast, the private and Christian high school students are missing out on their recruitment at the hands of St. Louis County’s discriminatory implementation of arbitrarily applied and illogically issued guidelines.”
The group alleges Doucette lacks the legal authority to enact these orders and bases her ability to do so on misinterpretations and misstatements of state and local laws that in turn violate the Missouri and federal constitutions.
The group lists these among the unconstitutionally and arbitrarily banned activities:
- parents are banned from congregating in parking lots – which carries associated criminal penalties
- a criminally punishable ban on spectators indoors regardless of gym size
- unreasonable restrictions on outdoor spectators (permitting only two spectators per athlete)
- a criminally punishable ban on cheerleaders who “chant or stunt”
- a complete ban on competitions in certain sports with no similar ban on scrimmages or practices
The Thomas More Society is prepared to pursue litigation if needed.
You can read the entire letter sent to the county officials here.
FOX 2 has reached out to the St. Louis County Executive’s office and is waiting for a response.