730 F.2d 1395 (11th Cir. 1984), 83-7127, Davenport by Davenport v. Randolph County Bd. of Educ.

Docket Nº:83-7127.
Citation:730 F.2d 1395
Party Name:Jonathan DAVENPORT, a minor, by his next friend and father, James H. DAVENPORT; Micky Lazar O'Neal, a minor, by his next friend and father, Lawrence O'Neal, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. RANDOLPH COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 26, 1984
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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Page 1395

730 F.2d 1395 (11th Cir. 1984)

Jonathan DAVENPORT, a minor, by his next friend and father,

James H. DAVENPORT; Micky Lazar O'Neal, a minor,

by his next friend and father, Lawrence

O'Neal, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

RANDOLPH COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 83-7127.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

April 26, 1984

Page 1396

Sherri T. Powell, Solomon S. Seay, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Lewis H. Hammer, Roanoke, Ala., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

Before GODBOLD, Chief Judge, RONEY and KRAVITCH, Circuit Judges.

KRAVITCH, Circuit Judge:

The plaintiffs, Jonathan Davenport and Micky Lazar O'Neal, are high school students who brought suit to challenge the "clean shaven" policy of defendant Ronald Watters, coach of the football and basketball teams at Randolph County High School (RCHS). Defendant Watters suspended Davenport from the RCHS basketball team in December 1981 for refusing to shave and barred both plaintiffs from participating on the football team for the 1982 season because of their refusal to abide by his grooming policy.

Defendant Watters' grooming policy prohibited team members from having beards, wearing mustaches extending beyond the corners of their mouths, or growing sideburns below the ear lobes. The plaintiffs' fathers approved of their sons' decisions not to abide by the coach's policy because they had suffered skin problems when shaving as youths and thus did not want their sons to shave. Defendant Randolph County School Board first considered the issue in March 1982 and recommended that coaches not require a minor to shave if the parents objected. At a later meeting, however, the Board reversed its position and endorsed Coach Watters' "clean shaven" policy. Plaintiffs proceeded to institute this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 and the fourteenth amendment, requesting declaratory judgment and issuance of an injunction to prevent the defendants from refusing to allow the plaintiffs to participate in athletics at RCHS. 1

Page 1397

The plaintiffs contend that the "clean shaven" policy is unconstitutional because it is arbitrary and unreasonable to require fourteen and fifteen year-old adolescents to shave in order to participate in high school athletics. This...

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