A group of Orange County athletes Monday sued the state and the county to allow for high school indoor sports.
The lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court alleges a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
The five local athletes “do not challenge the governor’s or the county’s authority to issue COVID-19 disaster declarations, executive, or health orders,” according to the lawsuit.
Instead, the lawsuit focuses on the indefinite suspension of youth sports.
The state issued new guidance Feb. 19 that allows for the return of outdoor youth sports, but not for indoor competition. The lawsuit argues that while college and professional sports are allowed with various COVID-19 protocols high school team sports were not given the same opportunity.
“If a sport is safe for college students or professionals to play when following certain protocols, it is no less safe were high school student athletes to follow those same protocols,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of wrestler and special needs student Jason Nelson of La Palma, a sophomore at El Modena High School in Orange; basketball player Caleb Gibson Graham of Anaheim, a junior at Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills; cheerleader Isabella Mitchell of Irvine, a junior at El Modena High; volleyball player Elodie Danet of Orange, a sophomore at El Modena High; and volleyball player Madeleine Loyelle Trepus of Orange, a junior at Foothill High School in Tustin.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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