Florida principal, colleagues reassigned after letting trans player compete on girls' volleyball team

John Cecil and his Monarch High School colleagues, Kenneth May and Dione Hester, were removed from their positions.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
The principal of a high school in Broward County, Florida was reassigned on Monday along with the assistant principal and an athletic director in response to a decision to let a trans-identifying biological male student compete on the girls' volleyball team.

Principal John Cecil and his Monarch High School colleagues, Kenneth May and Dione Hester, were reassigned away from their positions following an investigation into “allegations of improper student participation in sports” after a male student allegedly participated in female sports. 

Sources have told Local 10 News that the investigation pertains to a male student who has been allowed to play on the Monarch High School girls' volleyball team. Florida state law forbids this, as the State Legislature passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act in 2021, which states that athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to male students.

"Although we cannot comment further, we will continue to follow state law and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigation," district spokesman John Sullivan said in a statement to CBS News. "We are committed to providing all our students with a safe and inclusive learning environment." 

Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco defended the trio, saying, "I don't know if they even knew the law, understand the law, what training the district has given all of our athletic directors, all of out [sic] admins, all of our coaches on the law. There's a lot that needs to be known here that is not known."

"The school is not any good without a principal; we need someone here who is able to lead us," one student said, according to CBS News. "Even though it's a state law, I know according to state law you can't do it, but I think his punishment was too harsh."

The law in question, SB 1028, was passed by the Florida legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021. It was promptly challenged in the courts, with the lawsuit arguing that not allowing students to participate in sports of the opposite sex is "part of a wave of anti-transgender bills" and serves to "stigmatize this teenager and separate her from her peers and teammates." The suit was rejected, with US District Judge Roy Altman ruling the law did not violate equal protection and due process rights granted by the Constitution, or Title IX.

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