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Family sues after son is cut from team

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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It’s not uncommon for parents to butt in when it comes to their kids, playing time and sports.

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But few have taken it as far as Ervin Mears Jr., a New Jersey dad who filed a lawsuit seeking $40 million, as well as two varsity letters and championship jackets, after his 16-year-old son was booted from his school’s track team, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the suit — which names the coach, athletic director and principal at Sterling Regional High School in Camden County, as well as the superintendent and school board — Mawusimensah Mears was “subjected to bullying and harassment” when he was kicked off the track team May 6.

In the suit, Ervin Mears claims Mawusimensah "comes from a family of track winners" and was an "undefeated champ" in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter runs as an eighth grader. However, in ninth grade, Ervin Mears and Sterling’s track coach reportedly disagreed over which races Mawusimensah, now a sophomore, should run.

Afterward, Ervin Mears said, his son was barred from competing in meets.

"If he doesn't qualify, then the clock will say he's not fast enough," Mears told the Inquirer. "Let him get some exposure. … Participation in extracurricular activities is a right."

The school told Mears that unexcused absences from practice were the official reason for his son’s dismissal from the team, according to the Inquirer. Mears said that the absences were due to a leg injury and a death in the family.

"I felt, in a way, disrespected,” Mawusimensah Mears said. “At practice, I work hard and I try to be the best athlete I can be, but at meet time, I didn't get the respect that I thought I deserved."

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