Florida fines high school for allowing transgender student to play girls volleyball

Symbol of transgender on color background
Attorneys say the reckless indifference to the child's safety won't be ignored.

Florida’s state athletic board fined a high school and put it on probation Tuesday after a transgender student played on the girls volleyball team, a violation of a controversial law enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature.

The Florida High School Athletic Association fined Monarch High $16,500, ordered the principal and athletic director to attend rules seminars and placed the suburban Fort Lauderdale school on probation for 11 months, meaning further violations could lead to increased punishments. The association also barred the girl from participating in boys sports for 11 months.

The 2021 law, which supporters named “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” bars transgender girls and women from playing on public school teams intended for student athletes identified as girls at birth.

The student, a 10th grader who played in 33 matches over the last two seasons, was removed from the team last month after the Broward County School District was notified by an anonymous tipster about her participation. Her removal led hundreds of Monarch students to walk out of class two weeks ago in protest.

The Associated Press is not naming the student to protect her privacy.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida passed legislation to protect girls’ sports and we will not tolerate any school that violates this law,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said in a statement. “We applaud the swift action taken by the Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior.”

DeSantis’ office declined comment. The governor was in Iowa on Tuesday, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. He has made his enactment of the law and others that are similar a campaign cornerstone.

Jessica Norton, the girl’s mother and a Monarch information technician, went public last week. She reissued a statement Tuesday calling the outing of her daughter a “direct attempt to endanger” the girl.

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ rights organization that has been supporting the family, said in a statement that Tuesday’s ruling “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 reckless indifference to the well-being of our client and her family, and all transgender students across the State, will not be ignored,” wrote Jason Starr, the group’s litigation strategist.

According to court documents filed with a 2021 federal suit challenging the law on the girl’s behalf, she has identified as female since before elementary school and has been using a girl’s name since second grade.

At age 11 she began taking testosterone blockers and at 13 started taking estrogen to begin puberty as a girl. Her gender has also been changed on her birth certificate. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last month but gave the family until next month to amend it for reconsideration.

Broward County Public Schools in a short statement acknowledged receiving the association’s ruling and said its own investigation is ongoing. The district has 10 days to appeal.

The association also ruled that Monarch Principal James Cecil and Athletic Director Dione Hester must attend rules compliance seminars the next two summers and the school must host an on-campus seminar for other staff before July.

The school district recently temporarily reassigned Cecil, Hester, Norton and the assistant athletic director and suspended the volleyball coach pending the outcome of its investigation.

After the group’s reassignments, Norton thanked students and others who protested on their behalf.

“The outpouring of love and support from our community … has been inspiring, selfless and brave,” Norton said in last week’s statement. “Watching our community’s resistance and display of love has been so joyous for our family — the light leading us through this darkness.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Earl Pitts "The "Ronald's" Un-Official Campaigne Manager" American

    December 13, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    We are looking into attaching personal responsability to those responsable for the mutilation of Florida’s precious Childern’s minds, bodys, and genitals. Because the fines are not a deterent as nobody personally has to pay those fines. They come out of the school budget which has no effect on the guilty individuals or the local Dook 4 Brains voters responsable for the continued election of these school teacher and administrator monsters.
    Our fineing system as written and implemented is stupid, ineffective, and not a deterent whatsoever if the goal is to stop these sick monsters from further harming our childern.
    Thank you America,

    • rick whitaker

      December 13, 2023 at 8:41 am


  • Sonja Fitch

    December 13, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Of course only women have to give up trans rights! Men and Women shall have equal rights including determining their Own sexual preference of their body!!!!!!!men and women shall have the right to determine their sex!!!!!!!!

    • Earl Pitts "The "Ronald's" Un-Official Campaigne Manager" American

      December 13, 2023 at 8:39 am

      Thank you beloved Sonja,
      Here at the Esteamed Earl Pitts American Institute of Gender Confusion we have anticipated your issues and found a way to handle the problem in men as you requested.
      The best way to end gender confusion in men turns out to be “A GOOD KICK IN THE NUTS”.
      You are welcome Beloved Sonja,
      Earl Pitts American

      • rick whitaker

        December 13, 2023 at 8:43 am


    • rick whitaker

      December 13, 2023 at 4:41 pm

      sonja fitch, i read earl’s post to you. i think earl deserves a kick in the nuts for talking to you that way. what an awful fool he is.

  • Michael K

    December 13, 2023 at 8:16 am

    Wow. A happy child, loved and supported by her family, school mates, teammates, and friends, causing no one any harm. Now she is ripped apart and her teachers and school are all suffering.

    Are you happy now, Republicans? Your cruelty is on full display again. I’m sure you are taking perverse delight in causing so much anguish and pain. So much for live and let live. So much for kindness and compassion. So much for human decency. You are not protecting children. You are using children for cheap political gain.

  • My Take

    December 13, 2023 at 8:40 am

    Sports uber Alles
    And thus, sports morons uber Alles.
    But why has the girl been treated sympathetically by classmates and community?
    Because Broward is blue.

  • rbruce

    December 13, 2023 at 9:31 am

    No matter how many and different drugs a male may take or how he may mutilate his body, he will never be a female.

    • Joe

      December 13, 2023 at 11:22 am

      Why the heck do you care so much anyway, pervert?

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 13, 2023 at 11:08 am

    The real problem with transgender sports kids is the school district busybody parents who truly believe high school sport win/loss ratios matter in the slightest. They do not.

    Folks should want all kids to do their best. Some transgender kid playing volleyball in no way prohibits that.

    Change parental mindsets to “Did you do your best? did everybody their their best?, if the answers are yes, everybody won” It’s a little socialist isn’t it? We could use a little more socialist thought. Might keep folks from shooting each all the damn time if they learn to get along and work together despite their differences.

    Winning and losing, those are just ways to define people relative to other people. It’s totally needless. Enjoy the game instead. Define people for who they are and what they can do, not in contrast to other people.

  • Joe

    December 13, 2023 at 11:21 am

    It’s simply disheartening to see a state waste so much time and resources demonizing an vanishingly small number of teenage children who are already so marginalized. And the politicians who make this their personal mission are just disgusting people. Florida has many bigger problems that their “government” should be addressing.

  • PeterH

    December 13, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    DeSantis’s policies have zero support from the medical community. Gender is not defined genitalia! Google a definition for gender and get educated.

    Broward should refuse to pay the fine and bring this case to the Supreme Court!

Comments are closed.


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