Florida School Faces Backlash for Punishing Transgender Student-Athlete in Girls' Team
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Florida School Faces Backlash for Punishing Transgender Student-Athlete in Girls’ Team

A high school in Florida is facing a one-year probation and a $16,500 fine because they allowed a transgender girl to join the girls’ volleyball team. State athletic officials made this announcement on Tuesday.

The Florida High School Athletic Association accused Monarch High School of breaking the state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and an association bylaw.

These rules forbid “biological males” from participating in women’s sports teams at public schools. The transgender student played in 33 matches during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 volleyball season, according to the letter.

The letter also mentions that the student-athlete is not allowed to represent any member school until November 2024.

In Florida, transgender girls are not permitted to play on women’s sports teams at public schools, as per the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act signed into law in 2021 by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. Governor DeSantis has enacted various laws targeting transgender individuals, including restrictions on gender-affirming care.

“We applaud the swift action taken by the (Florida High School Athletic Association) to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior,” wrote Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. in a post on X.

Last month, the Broward County School District temporarily took out the high school’s principal and other staff members from their roles while looking into the situation.

“Today’s determination by the Florida High School Athletics Association does not change the fact that the law preventing transgender girls from playing sports with their peers is unconstitutionally rooted in anti-transgender bias, and the Association’s claim to ensure equal opportunities for student athletes rings hollow,” the student’s family’s attorney said in a statement provided to CNN.

Broward County Schools informed CNN that they received a letter from the athletics association and are currently investigating the matter. The letter states that school officials have 10 business days to appeal the decision.

In Florida, student-athletes must complete a physical evaluation form and exam, which is then reviewed by school officials and submitted to the athletics association. The form includes a question about the sex assigned at birth, but it’s unclear how the student answered.

This decision is part of a wider trend of legal challenges against transgender students participating in school sports, especially in states led by Republicans. In April, the US House of Representatives passed a bill preventing transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports at federally-funded schools.

However, the bill is not expected to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the White House has threatened to veto it.

Source: CNN

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