Tuesday, October 19, 2004


A 14-year-old girl hockey player has won the right to share the same locker room with her male teammates. News Brunswick's Human Rights Commission has ruled that Brigette LeBlanc's rights were violated when she was forced to use a separate change room.

LeBlanc has been playing hockey since the age of five. Her sense of camaraderie took a hit three years ago when she was made to use a separate change room. It felt like I was alone. I was always alone and I was the only girl on the team," she told ATV News. While she didn't mind at first, LeBlanc realized she was missing out on important coaching tips. Her parents asked for a change to allow her to use the same change room, but that request was denied by Moncton's minor hockey association.

The next step was filing a complaint with the provincial human rights commission, which the LeBlancs did in August 2002, when Brigette was 12. It ruled co-ed hockey team players can't be segregated. "They don't have to feel like second-rate players and teammates," said Nicole LeBlanc, Brigette's mother. "They are there and they deserve equality. It's not a privilege to be there with the boys. It's not a privilege to be treated equally -- it's their right. And that's the way it has to be."

The ruling does come with a proviso: The boys must wear shorts at all time and girls must wear shorts and t-shirts. Showers must be taken at separate times, although many shower at home anyway.

More here


"A decision not to pay damages to a Huddersfield schoolgirl injured in an accident in a gym lesson has been upheld by the Appeal Court. Lauren Babbings was eight when she badly fractured her arm during a lesson at Honley Primary in March 1995. Earlier this year, the town's County Court dismissed her claim, ruling staff had not breached their duty of care. On Monday, judges said there was no arguable case that the original decision was wrong.

Lauren, now 18, jumped from a springboard and was supposed to grasp a bar six or seven feet above the ground, but missed it and landed on a wooden floor. Barrister Benjamin Caswell said she will always have some deformity and disablement and argued the school was responsible. He said that Lauren was too young to tackle the apparatus, which had been left out after being used by an older class. Mr Caswell added there was a "reasonably foreseeable" risk of injury, and claimed Lauren, who was suing Kirklees Metropolitan Council, should have had help when landing.

Lord Justice Brooke told the court: "How boring things would be if there were no risk." He praised the school teacher, who had decided to ask his pupils to do the exercise on the spur of the moment, as "a man of integrity". When deciding that there was no arguable case, he described Lauren as a sporty girl who was "excited" at the thought of the exercise. "She liked new challenges; she picked this exercise because it was more exciting than the other three on offer," added the judge.

Lauren still plays football for Huddersfield Ladies and her high school."


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