A cyber-school student won’t make the cut on the basketball team at her public high school, a federal judge has ruled.
Megan Angstadt, 16, sued a central Pennsylvania school district in an attempt to play for Middleburg High School.
“There is no constitutionally protected interest in playing sports,” U.S. District Judge James McClure Jr. wrote in his ruling Sept. 4, dismissing the case against the Midd-West School District.
McClure had denied Angstadt a temporary injunction last year when she sought to play in four remaining junior varsity games.
The ruling does not completely resolve the issue of whether cyber students can take part in public school activities, however.
McClure declined to take up the question of whether cyber schools are legitimate charter schools or merely distance-learning programs.
Angstadt’s lawyer argued that the state Public School Code requires school officials to let students who live in the district participate in sports not offered by a charter school.
Angstadt was home-schooled from grades three through eight, and had been allowed to play basketball on a middle school team for the last two of those years.
Since fall 2001, she has been enrolled in the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, which was established by a Beaver County, Pa., school district.
In her suit, filed in November, Angstadt said the Midd-West district violated her right to associate with the cyber school by refusing to let her play basketball or participate in open gym. The judge denied that claim, saying she was associating with the school by virtue of her enrollment.
At a hearing in the case, Midd-West Superintendent Merrill S. Arnold testified the district could not validate reports from the cyber school that show Angstadt was completing the instructional hours and getting the grades required to play sports.
The district had initially allowed Angstadt to play on the Middleburg team. She was named a co-captain and played in at least one game before being declared ineligible.
Midd-West School District
Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School