School District Wins Legal Battle Involving Track Athlete

A federal court is ruling in favor of the North Canton City School District regarding the reinstatement of a freshman track pole vaulter.

Public reports state U.S. Judge Sara Lioi ruled that Max Stokey will not be permitted to participate in the pole vault for Hoover High School this week at the district tournament competition.

The student’s family pursued a temporary restraining order to force Hoover to allow the student to participate in the pole vault competition after he’d been dismissed but remained on the team in other events. Reports indicate Max had been dismissed after the family challenged several of the Pole Vault coach’s decisions including practicing in rainy conditions.

Judge Lioi explained in court documents ‘the School District retained the discretion to dismiss M.S. from the pole vaulting team for failing to abide by the coaches’ rules. The court agrees with the School District and sustains the [school district’s] objection.’

The court noted the family did have the right to speak out against practices or policies he felt were dangerous and to refuse to allow his child to participate, however; the coaching staff also has the right to set the rules for competition and discipline those who refuse to follow said rules.

The court also indicated there did not appear to be a ‘substantial likelihood’ that the family could prove the school district ‘retaliated against him or his son because Stokey advocated for a change in the pole vaulting policy.’ Judge Lioi added the family was not able to prove any of the conditions needed for her to grant their request.

Max Stokey currently ranks fifth in Stark County in pole vaulting.

Michaela Madison Reporting

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