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Father sues after teen is dropped from track team

There's a point Ervin Mears Jr. wants people to understand, and it's the reason he filed a federal lawsuit when his son was ousted from the high school track team:

"Children have rights," Mears, 68, said, "just like any adult."

In this case, he said, it's the right to run.

On May 6, Mawusimensah Mears, a sophomore at Sterling Regional High School in Camden County, was kicked off the team, the suit says.

Eleven days later, his father sued in Camden, naming the coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent, and school board.

The suit says his son was subjected to bullying and harassment. It seeks $40 million plus 2012 and 2013 varsity letters and championship jackets.

Sterling's interim superintendent, Paul Spaventa, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation and student privacy.

"Interfering?" Mears asked, his voice rising in response to a question about whether filing a lawsuit was interfering with the school's prerogatives. "That's my son. I better interfere. I better make sure he gets every opportunity."

Is it rare for parents to sue over high school sports? Yes, according to local school and athletic officials, who say they have been threatened with suits but never actually sued.

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