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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Homeless High School Student|Takes on the State by Himself

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (CN) - A New Mexico high school student who works part time at a fast-food restaurant claims the state refuses to let him wrestle on his school team because he is homeless.

Aaron Martinez, a senior at Robertson High School, works at a McDonalds and stays with friends and family as he tries to graduate. He earned a slot on the varsity wrestling team, but the New Mexico Athletic Association won't let him compete, he says in his pro se complaint in San Miguel County Court.

The NMAA governs eligibility to participate in high school sports in his area.

Martinez says he has been enrolled in the East Las Vegas School District since grade school, but after he was the victim of a violent crime he transferred for his safety to a neighboring district in Mora, N.M., until his assailants were sentenced.

When he returned to his home school district there were conflicting grades on his transcript, caused by a mistake by the Mora School District, which rendered him ineligible to compete under NMAA rules, Martinez says in his Feb. 18 lawsuit.

With help from administrators and counselors in both school districts, he sought a hardship wavier under NMAA rules.

Martinez claims he has fulfilled all the NMAA's requirements, but his attempts to work within the association have been met with "fabricated correspondence, altered policies, and deceitful tactics in blatant attempts to stall (his) right to due process".

For instance, he says the NMAA denied his request for a waiver on Dec. 16, 2014, and gave him 14 days to file an appeal, but he did not receive its determination letter until Jan. 26.

In his well-written complaint, Martinez thanks the East Las Vegas School District superintendent, his teammates and local parents for their support.

Martinez seeks an injunction to prevent the NMAA from denying him permission to participate in sports and preventing the association from imposing sanctions or penalties against the school for allowing him to join the team.

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