Judge: Girl expelled from Keninlworth school over basketball lawsuit allowed on boys' team

Friday, February 17, 2017

KENILWORTH, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey judge ruled Friday that a girl expelled from her Catholic school over a lawsuit to play on the boys' basketball team must be allowed to play, according to the girl's father.

This follows a decision last Friday in which a judge ruled 12-year-old Sydney Phillips and her sister must be reinstated to St. Theresa's in Kenilworth following the expulsion.

The team has one game left, scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. Newark Archdiocese spokeman Jim Goodness said they will abide by the ruling.

Dad Scott Phillips said the girls were devastated to be expelled, which Goodness was a result of a violation of the parent-student handbook. The section reads, "If a parent implicates St. Theresa School in a legal matter, or names St. Theresa School as a defendant in a civil matter, the parent/guardian will be requested to remove their children immediately from the school."

Goodness said all parents agree to the handbook each school year and that Scott Phillips signed a paper saying he understood the school handbook back in August of last year, therefore the removal of both his daughters from the school "should not have come as a surprise."

Last December, St. Theresa's canceled their girls' basketball team after there weren't enough students interested. Sydney and her family then fought to play on the boys' team, but the school refused even though the Archdiocese of Newark doesn't have a specific rule prohibiting that.

That led to an previously unsuccessful legal battle with the archdiocese, after a judge sided with the school last month saying there was no legal foundation for her case.