On Tuesday, hundreds of Florida high school students staged a walkout after their principal and other school officials had been reassigned due to a transgender girl playing on the girls’ volleyball team.
According to aerial footage provided by NBC Miami, students at Monarch High School, Coconut Creek, located about 15 miles north-east of Fort Lauderdale, began filing out of their classrooms at noon and onto the football field. The protest was held a day after James Cecil and four other high school staffers were transferred to non-school locations. Some students carried signs supporting trans rights while others chanted, “Trans lives matter.” The protest also occurred amid an ongoing Broward County investigation into whether or not the school allowed a transgender girl to compete on their girls’ volleyball teams, NBC Miami reported. This would be in violation of state law.
Cecil was not available for comment.
A spokesperson from Broward County Public Schools confirmed the reassignment of Cecil and other staffers “pending the result of an investigation into claims of improper student involvement in sports,” without specifying if the reason was that the student was transgender.
Peter Licata, the district superintendent, answered reporters’ questions at a press conference held on Tuesday about a transgender girl’s participation on the girls’ volleyball team of a high school. Licata informed reporters that “new processes” would be implemented for athletes’ eligibility in the future.
He said: “We will do an extra level investigation to make sure that everyone is eligible for their sport, including grade levels, grades and other aspects.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for the Republican nomination in 2024 as president, signed a 2021 law that prohibits transgender women and girls from participating on sports teams at public schools. Over 20 states have laws that restrict trans athletes’ participation in school sports. A Florida Governor’s Office representative did not respond immediately to a comment request.
In June 2021, a lawsuit against the Governor, the School Board of Broward County, and other Florida officials was filed. The suit argued that the measure violated Title IX – a landmark civil right law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. The plaintiff was a teenager who wanted to join the Broward County volleyball team. She was identified only by her initials D.N.
The attorneys for the trans girl who was not named did not immediately respond to a comment request. Licata, when asked if the student in issue was the one referred to in a lawsuit, said that he did not know of its existence.
Anna Fusco of the Broward Teachers Union suggested that staffers reassigned may not have been aware they were violating the law when allowing a transgender student to compete for the team.
She said, “It is getting more and more difficult for our teachers to understand what’s going on.” “Our teachers do not always understand the new laws, or old laws that have already been in place.”
She continued, “They want to be there and help the student succeed by being the teacher, coach, or counselor.”
Licata stated that it was unclear whether the principal or staffers knew they were violating the law. This will be part of their investigation.