The father of a sophomore baseball player in Maine has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the school’s principal has arbitrarily denied his son “the right to play varsity baseball.”
According to the Portland Press Herald, the lawsuit states that Princehoward Yee, a resident of Falmouth, Me., who had been home-schooled, enrolled as a full-time student at Deering (Portland) on Jan. 25 with the belief that he would be eligible to try out for the varsity team. The lawsuit describes Yee as one of “Maine’s most promising high school baseball players (a sophomore with an 85 mile per hour fastball)” and states that Yee believed that he would be able to try out for the team until just last month.
The Press Herald reports that Yee’s father, Howard Yee, is listed as the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“Defendant Principal Gregg Palmer took this extraordinary, unilateral step exactly one day before the 2018 baseball season began in what can only be considered an unreasonable exercise of his authority, used to deny Plaintiff a valuable opportunity, stunt his growth as an athlete, impair his college opportunities, and cause him direct and lasting economic and emotional harm,” according to court documents filed by attorney Michael J. Waxman and obtained by the Press Herald.
Per the Press Herald, the lawsuit contends that Yee and his father were denied their right to due process because Palmer nor anybody else at the school gave a specific reason why Yee was ineligible.
Palmer and Portland Public Schools superintendent Xavier Botana are listed as co-defendants in the lawsuit, per the Press Herald.
A hearing is scheduled for April 11 on Waxman’s request for a preliminary injunction to overturn the school’s decision on Princehoward Yee. The Press Herald reports that the suit also seeks monetary compensation for the “violation of his fundamental civil rights” and for attorney fees and costs associated with the suit.
The Press Herald reported that the suit details how Yee has been home-schooled and taken classes at both Falmouth and Deering during his first two years in high school, and that last spring, as a freshman, he took two science classes at Deering and played varsity baseball for the Rams. At that time, Palmer was the principal at Falmouth High.
This school year, Yee was home-schooled until he was accepted as a full-time student at Deering. According to the Press Herald, both Falmouth Superintendent Geoff Bruno and Portland Superintendent Botana signed a transfer request document dated Jan. 25. The document also states that Yee would be allowed to participate in sports “subject to the same requirements as any other student-athlete provided that the Falmouth and Deering Athletic Directors reach an agreement.”
There is also, however, the rules from the Maine Principals’ Association regulating eligibility only for varsity athletics. For this reason, Yee could play junior varsity baseball without any potential consequences for Deering. With that being the case, Yee is now is practicing with the Deering baseball squad but will only be allowed to play on the junior varsity team, Waxman told the Press Herald.
You can read more on this story from the Press Herald here.