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HomeGeneralFlorida Punishes Trans Student in Girls Volleyball

Florida Punishes Trans Student in Girls Volleyball

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Florida officials temporarily banned a transgender student from high school sports. The reason cited was a violation of state law for playing on the girls’ volleyball team. 

Officials from the Florida High School Athletic Association sent a letter to Monarch High School last Tuesday, declaring a transgender student ineligible for nearly a year. This means the student can’t represent any school or join any sports team during this period.

Officials placed the South Florida high school on probation for 11 months and fined it $16,500. Additionally, they mandated that the school’s staff undergo compliance training.

The state’s penalties follow the recent reassignment of the high school’s principal and several officials. After an anonymous tipster alerted them, county officials investigated “allegations of improper student participation in sports.”

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On Wednesday, a Broward County Public Schools spokesperson confirmed that they got the letter from the Florida High School Athletic Association. The district is still investigating the matter.

However, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, is serving as the legal representation for trans students. In a statement on Tuesday, the organization condemned the state’s actions.

“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,”

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Jason Starr, a litigation strategist at the HRC, said in the statement. “The reckless indifference to the wellbeing of our client and her family, and all transgender students across the State, will not be ignored.”

The trans student, represented by HRC, and her parents declined to comment. However, the student’s mother suggested last week that county officials outed her daughter during the investigation.

In 2021, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a GOP presidential nominee, signed a law barring trans girls from female sports teams in public schools. Furthermore, about half of U.S. states have similar rules. The Florida governor’s office referred NBC News’ comment request to the state’s Education Department.

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ALSO READ: The Debate on Transgender Athletes in Female Sports Rages on as Both Sides Stand Their Ground

The Education Department didn’t respond promptly to NBC News. On Tuesday, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. applauded the association’s decision and expressed support for the state law in a social media post.

The trans student and her parents, central to Monarch High School’s sports controversy, filed a lawsuit in 2021. Accordingly, the suit targeted DeSantis, the Broward County School Board, and various other Florida officials over the sports law.

The family contended that the state law violated Title IX, a crucial civil rights law. Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination at federally funded public and private schools. A federal judge denied the family’s challenge to the statute last month.

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