By Thomas Himes, Staff Writer
The father of a high school tennis player has sued the Azusa Unified School District, alleging school officials prevented his daughter from attending a championship match. Azusa High School senior Alyssa Pritchett hopes to attend college on an athletic scholarship. She moved a step closer to that goal last fall when she qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation singles tennis championships. (To continue, click thread).
“She wanted to get a scholarship for college and one of the requirements for Division I is you participate in the CIF championship,” said the girl’s father, Jerry Pritchett.
But Alyssa was disqualified from the tournament at Whittier Narrows County Park. According to the lawsuit, school officials refused to take her to the match and told her the wrong day of the tournament.
Pritchett said he made plans to take his daughter to the match, but school officials gave him the wrong date, telling him it was the day after the actual date.
“After it happened I went on the CIF’s website and it was right there in bold, the information was so easy to find,” Pritchett said of the tournament’s date. “I just trusted the school, that they knew what they were talking about.”
Azusa Unified Assistant Superintendent Brad Frick declined to comment.
“This is obviously a legal matter, so I can’t comment on it,” Frick said.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 27, seeks up to $25,000 in damages.
As a result of the error, Pritchett said his daughter lost an opportunity to receive college scholarships. Any money from the lawsuit, Pritchett said, would be put towards the cost of a college education.
“This should not have happened. It cannot have happened, but it did,” said the Pritchetts’ attorney, Daniel McMeekin.
The school’s tennis coach allegedly pulled Alyssa out of class to tell her she missed the match and was disqualified.
“She started crying because it was her life,” Pritchett said. “He just left her in class devastated.”
Azusa High School Athletic Director Sandy Gahring could not be reached for comment.
Alyssa continues to play tennis under a new coach at Azusa High, Pritchett said. She will be a senior this fall.
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