November 8, 2005 - A battle is ongoing over a boy who wants to join a girls bowling team at a northwest suburban high school. Officials at Schaumburg High School have told the senior he cannot be on the team because of Illinois High School Association rules. The school does not have a boys bowling team. The student's parents say they are ready to file a lawsuit.
Seventeen-year-old Paul Rofus, a senior at Schaumburg High School, knew he risked being suspended if he attempted to show up at the bowling tryouts Tuesday for the female bowling team at Hoffman Lanes. He says although he was warned by the school's athletic director that he would be suspended, he decided to proceed with his fight.
"He also said if I show up at the bowling alley again like I did the other day or anybody approaches him or look at him the wrong way, he will suspend me," said Rofus.
The high school claims they are following policy of the Illinois High School Association. In a release the school states, Like most school districts, High School District 211 administers its interscholastic sports programs with the IHSA guidelines for post-season competition in which member schools are not permitted to enter a boy in an IHSA girls state tournament series.
"Participation opportunities for girls do not match participation opportunities for boys. Boys cannot participate on girls' team, although girls, if an opportunity is not provided, can participate on boys' teams."
Paul's mother is threatening to sue the school and the IHSA if they do not allow her son to join the girls' bowling team at Schaumburg High School.
"It just feels like it's totally discriminatory that they would allow girls to crossover but not boys," said Angeline Rofus.
Paul is an honors student who loves competing in track and football. He has received a number of recognitions for his athletic ability. Bowling is something he really enjoys. However, he say this issue is not just about bowling. It is also about his civil rights, and he just cannot see himself walking away from the problem.
"I support him 110 percent. Finally, somebody stood up to do it," said Jason Hoglund, Hoffman Estates High School. student.
Paul expects to be suspended Tuesday when he tries to go to class. He says it will affect the school year and negatively impact his ability to go onto college. But he says it is worth it to make his point.
School officials say every two to three years a survey is conducted to make sure the interests of the students are reflected in the programs they offer.