Irvine : Judge Won't Reinstate Girl to School Group

A Superior Court judge has refused to order the reinstatement of a high school senior to the pageantry squad she was kicked off in October for attending a homecoming dance instead of a required competition.

Kimberly Hampton, the mother of Irvine High School senior Jennifer Hampton, 17, filed suit in January against the Irvine Unified School District after her daughter was removed from the pageantry corps, a group that performs dance and flag routines. Jennifer Hampton was a four-year member of the performing group.

High school officials said Hampton knew she was violating pageantry corps rules when she chose not to attend a competition scheduled for the same day as the homecoming dance.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour, in a ruling issued Thursday, found that Hampton was given "clear, prior notice that an unexcused absence could result in her dismissal from class."

Seymour also ruled that a student's participation in extracurricular activities is not a "fundamental right" entitled to protection under the Education Code.

Attorney John Roth, who represents Kimberly Hampton, said he believes the ruling would be reversed on appeal.

But he said the family has not decided if they will appeal the court decision.

Said Irvine High School Principal Gail Richards: "I'm pleased that the issue is resolved."

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