LANCASTER, N.Y. — A school board in New York State has voted to terminate the contract of its district pediatrician after he declined to clear a female student to join the boys wrestling team, citing concerns about her physical maturity and that “girls don’t play boy sports.”
Trista Blasz, 12, has already been competing on a national level as a wrestler and was recently offered the opportunity to join Lancaster High School’s JV wrestling team because of her accomplishments.
New York requires potential athletes to undergo a maturity assessment and to also pass a physical test in order to play sports. While Blasz was able to perform the necessary push ups and pull ups on the physical test, Dr. Michael Terranova declined to approve the seventh grader to grapple with the boys on the mat.
On the bottom of the “physical maturity form,” he wrote that the child was not clear due to maturity issues and “girls don’t play boy sports in Lancaster schools.”
Blasz and her mother expressed objection, stating that the denial is “unfair.”
“It’s because I’m a girl and they don’t want girls taking the opportunities from the boys,” the student told The Washington Post. “But there’s no such thing as a sport just for boys. Every sport is for everyone, and he just doesn’t want girls to outshine the boys.”
“[It] isn’t fair, just because she’s a girl. And this is the only explanation I can come up with. If she was a boy she’d be on the team already,” her mother, Danielle Blasz, also remarked to WKBW-TV.
On Saturday, the Lancaster Central Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to discontinue its 35-year contract with Lancaster-Depew Pediatrics and to find a new doctor to serve the district.
“While we have no discretion regarding this decision, we do have discretion over who we have in our employ representing our students and family,” Board President Patrick Uhteg told WKBW.
As of Wednesday, a new three-person review panel has now cleared Blasz, approving her to attend practice with the high school boys wrestling team.
Terranova’s office has released a statement, outlining that the pediatrician was concerned for the girl’s safety.
“Dr. Terranova was one of three individuals tasked with the assessment of the girl’s application to wrestle on the boys’ team. Permission was denied based on objective standards mandated by the state. This decision was motivated by concerns for the student’s safety and physical maturity,” it outlined. “Despite public outcry initiated by the student’s parent, any form of discrimination is strenuously denied.”
Some Christian schools have faced the conundrum of finding their male students being paired with female opponents, and some have advised students that they can opt to forfeit the match rather than violating their consciences — as it is believed that it would be inappropriate for boys to topple girls and touch them in such a manner.
“After all, the sport of wrestling requires close — very close —physical contact. The holds and moves required for the sport mean that wrestlers will grab each other and struggle for physical supremacy. That pretty much defines the sport,” wrote commentator Albert Mohler in 2005.
“Why would parents want their daughters to compete against boys in wrestling, or to wrestle in the first place?” he asked. “Furthermore, putting adolescent boys in the position of wrestling adolescent girls undermines and violates the natural and necessary responsibility of men and boys to protect girls and women, not to wrestle them to the ground. Boys should be taught to respect female modesty, not to grapple with girls wearing spandex.”
“This represents further evidence of a dangerous confusion over gender combined with overtones of overt sexuality. Masculinity and femininity are effectively destroyed as meaningful concepts. That’s an incredibly high price to pay for ‘gender equity.'”