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IRVINE : Suit Filed Over Action Taken Against Student

The mother of an Irvine High School senior who was kicked off the pageantry team in October for attending the homecoming dance instead of a team competition has filed a lawsuit against the school district.

Kimberly Hampton, mother of 17-year-old Jennifer Hampton, is asking the Superior Court to compel the Irvine Unified School District to reinstate her daughter in the pageantry corps, a group that performs dance and flag routines.

The lawsuit claims the school was given a note from Kimberly Hampton excusing her daughter’s absence two days before the competition. Nevertheless, Jennifer Hampton was told two days after the competition by school officials that her absence would be considered unexcused, according to John Roth, who represents the Hamptons.

“She was in shock; she was in tears,” Roth said. “She had no idea she would be expelled from the team for this.”

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Irvine Unified Acting Supt. Dean Waldfogel and Irvine High School Principal Gail Richards declined comment. In October, school officials said all pageantry corps members understood that unexcused absences are not allowed.

The Hampton family had complained the previous school year about scheduling conflicts forcing team members to arrive late at the annual homecoming dance. Roth said school officials failed to honor promises that the problem would be corrected.

Roth is also accusing the school district of “gender-based discrimination,” claiming that the “no-absence” policy is not uniformly enforced in other sports programs.


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