LOCUST GROVE, Ga. - A Georgia family says their private school is setting gender equality in sports back decades.
They are upset because the school banned their 11-year-old from playing on the football team because she's a girl.
"I was put as defensive tackle -- first string," said Maddy Paige. "The coaches were really proud and my teammates -- you know -- pat on the back every time."
Maddy was living her dream playing on the sixth grade football team at Strong Rock Christian Middle School in Locust Grove, Ga., competing and beating the boys at their own game.
"The first sack that I made was in the fifth game. All the parents in the stands thought it was one of their boys. But when I stood up and they looked at their roster, and they saw it was me. I got amazing whoops and hollers," said Maddy.
But Maddy said she recently learned that she wasn't going to be allowed to play on the school's football team. Not because she wasn't good enough, but because she is a girl.
"The coaches told me I did really well and that my teammates supported me, and then all of a sudden, that they were taking that away from me. It really is just sort of like taking a dream and just throwing it in the trash," said Maddy.
Strong Rock's athletic director said in a statement, "Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports."
Maddy's mother said that's a backwards policy that sends the wrong message to young women.
"What they've done here is they've taken Maddy, let her have that cake, then taken it away and they smashed it," she said.
Maddy's mother is appealing the decision to the school, hoping her daughter can return to the sport she loves.
"What want her to learn is that her hard work and dedication pays off. In this case, her hard work and dedication got her kicked off a football team and that makes her feel like she's less worthy of a person," her mother said.
Maddy's family says they are not sure what they'll do if the school doesn't change its policy. But they're not willing to accept the limits the school is placing on what their daughter can do.