Three years ago, girls at a private Muslim high school in suburban Bridgeview asked their basketball coach if they could play against public schools. School administrators hesitated because the teenage athletes removed their head scarves during games and wore uniforms that revealed elbows and knees.
Boys at the other schools might sit in the bleachers and watch them.
This year, girls at Universal School, on the grounds of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation, will compete a full season against public schools for the first time by wearing a modest uniform of long pants and long-sleeved shirts beneath maroon sports jerseys. They'll also cover their hair.
"Our other option was to keep boys away at the other schools, and it's very hard to do that," said coach Lena Tleib.
They have 16 games scheduled so far and hope to add more before the season begins. Meanwhile, female volleyball players — also dressed modestly — already have competed against Gordon Tech, a Catholic high school. And Tleib is organizing a girls soccer team. (MORE)