A judge has ruled two teens who transferred to Jefferson High School are eligible to play softball

TAMPA - A judge issued a temporary injunction Friday allowing two sisters who transferred to Jefferson High School to play softball this year.

Kayla Jo and Justine Fernandez transferred to the school this year from Blake High School.

In the injuction, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Bernard Silver wrote 'the court recognizes that participation in athletics especially a team sport such as softball, is an important aspect of a student's development.'

The sisters, a sophomore and senior, were prohibited from taking to the field after they transferred.  Under a new district policy, if a student switches schools after their freshman year, they must sit out a year of sports.

The policy was enacted to prevent schools from recruiting star athletes.

However, the attorney for the teens, Peter Hobson, said the district rules are illegal and go against state law.

Under state law the rules "must allow a student to be eligible in the school in which he or she first enrolls each year."

The teens filed suit against the Hillsborough County School District in January.

Due to the injuction, both were able to take to the field Monday afternoon for the first softball practice of the year.

Hobson said the district can appeal the injunction.

School district leaders are not commenting due to the pending lawsuit.

While the injuction does not resolve the issue, Hobson says the girls will likely get to play this season.

 

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