A Florida high school principal and other school officials have been reassigned amid an investigation into whether they allowed a trans-identifying male player play on the girls’ volleyball team.
The alleged incident occurred at Monarch High School just north of Fort Lauderdale.
Principal James Cecil, assistant principal Kenneth May, athletic director Dione Hester, and volleyball coach Jessica Norton were all transferred on Monday, 7 News Miami reported.
Cecil has worked in the district for the past two decades.
“The principal of Monarch High School and several staff members have been reassigned to non-school sites pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of improper student participation in sports,” Broward County Public Schools said in a statement.
The district said it could not comment further, but will continue to follow state law and “take appropriate action” based on the outcome of the investigation.
“We are committed to providing all our students with a safe and inclusive learning environment,” the district said.
The county investigation is looking into whether the school officials violated Florida law, which prohibits biological males from playing on girls’ sports teams at K-12 public schools.
In the summer of 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which bans biological males in female sports.
A Broward County school board member, Torey Alston, reacted to the investigation, saying the probe will “follow the facts, and if it is revealed that state law is in question, I could tell you, we will follow state law.”
Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Broward Principals and Assistants Association, reacted as well, saying that, “We are confident that at the end of this investigation, principal James Cecil will be fully exonerated and will return to Monarch High.”
Students reportedly staged a walkout at the high school on Tuesday to protest the reassignments.
“The school is not any good without a principal. We need someone here who is able to lead us. 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,” one student told CBS Miami.
Other students said they agreed that the trans-identifying student should not play on the girls’ team.
“So what I think about the protest is, I just don’t think that, I don’t think that a trans kid should be part of the girls’ team,” one student told the outlet.
“I don’t agree with that. He shouldn’t be allowed to play on the team,” a student told 7 News Miami. “If he’s a biological boy, I don’t think he should play on the team.”
Transgender identities at public schools have become a hot-button issue in recent years, including the issue of biological boys sharing bathrooms and locker rooms with girls.
Parents have also accused their children’s schools of keeping them in the dark about their children’s new gender identities for long periods of time. Some have gone as far as suing their school districts.
More than 18,000 schools across the country have rules saying school staff can or should hide a student’s gender identity from parents, according to a list compiled by Parents Defending Education, a nonprofit that describes itself as “a national grassroots organization working to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas.”
Meanwhile, it is more popular than ever for youth to adopt new gender identities. An estimated 300,000 minors aged 13 to 17 identified as transgender as of last year.