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      Lansing wants to 'Let Eric Dompierre Play'

      Dean and Eric Dompierre in Lansing, pleading their case to politicians

      Eric Dompierre was all the talk in Lansing Wednesday as he and his dad, Dean, testified before the Senate Education Committee, pleading for the Michigan High School Athletic Association to let him play football and basketball in his senior year of high school.

      "I worked hard for a long time to get to play my senior year. If I could play in other states, I should get to play in Michigan. Please let me," said Eric.

      "My son may be the bravest person I know. Everyday when he walks out the door, he faces more struggles than about any of us in this room face each day," said Dean Dompierre to the state Senate.

      Senator Tom Casperson sided with the Dompierres, introducing a resolution that allows waivers for students with disabilities.

      "The problem we're running into is when the rule becomes so strict and so rigid that we can't see beyond the rule to have an exemption, then we believe we may, as a society, be going too far," said Senator Casperson.

      The Senate Committee unanimously passed the resolution, but the decision still lies with the MHSAA.

      Meanwhile, students at Ishpeming High School were all ears Wednesday, awaiting the hearing outcome. The Ishpeming School District has been backing the Dompierres 100 percent of the way, and students and faculty wore their "Let 'Em Play" t-shirts to show their support.

      "This is definitely a community fight. You come to Ishpeming and talk to any of our students and talk to any of our community members, and we have a lot of pride here in Ishpeming. A lot of Hematite pride. And I think we took that Hematite pride and really rallied around Eric, and it really made it easy for people to come together and support them," said Ishpeming teacher Holly Letson.

      Dean Dompierre created an online petition, asking the public to support his son. In just over a month, the petition received over 90,000 signatures from supporters all over the world.