What does it say when a high school boy refuses to wrestle a high school girl?

This is a fairly interesting discussion topic for me, possibly because I used to wrestle in high school. Anyhow, in the Iowa state wrestling tournament a boy chose not to wrestle a girl. To facilitate discussion, their names are Joel Northrup (the boy) and Cassy Herkelman (the girl).

So the following are just a few opinions. You might want to have your students share their own opinions before giving them these which they can analyze and then agree or disagree with. Showing them the following opinions should give them some model language they can use to refine their own personal opinions so they can start using more accurate language.

This has become a fairly major discussion topic in some circles in America and I have heard the following arguments:

Joel’s decision is impressive because he gave up a chance at winning the state tournament in order to stand up for his beliefs and values.

Joel’s decision implies that Cassey and other girls have no business wrestling on the same mat as boys. It’s discriminatory and sends girls a message that they should not play the sport.

Wrestling is a combat sport. Men and women should never compete against each other in combat sports.

Joel’s decision makes no sense. If his religion says not to engage women this way shouldn’t it also tell him not to roll around with sweaty boys in tights?

If society wants to teach men that they can not use violence against women, how can that same society tell a man that he has to go out on the wrestling mat and try to physically beat a woman by taking away her control over her own body?

He knew before he signed up for wrestling on a public school team that women were allowed to play too. If his self-righteous attitude prevents him from wrestling the opponent he draws like everyone else, he shouldn’t be on the wrestling team.

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