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Refugee banned from sports, gets lawmaker support

3 years 3 weeks 1 day ago April 08, 2014 Apr 8, 2014 Tuesday, April 08 2014 April 08, 2014 10:39 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana State Senate unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to allow an immigrant student, recently banned from sports, be able to participate his senior year.

Last month, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association denied Episcopal High's Clement Mubungwira request to play in organized sports.

Mubungirwa did not know English when he first started school in America in 2007, but he was able to catch up with students a year younger than him.

However, the LHSAA ultimately turned down his request because Mubungwira turns 19-years-old after the September 1st deadline.

"It's a more interesting story before you ever get to the denial of someone who literally had to fight for their life to get to the United States," Senator Dan Claitor said.

Claitor introduced the resolution that received a 33-0 vote.

In his resolution, he addressed Mubungwira's struggle along with his family of arriving from Uganda with "little more than the clothes on their backs" and how the family "endured years of horrific atrocities at the hands of rebel forces".

"I hope the LHSAA reconsiders their position and if ever there was a case for hardship, I believe this is one," Claitor said.

The LHSAA has not responded to the senate's resolution.

But in a letter to school administrators and coaches, LHSAA addressed Mubungwira's story by saying In the history of the LHSAA, the 19-year-old age rule has never been waived.

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