(The Daily Signal) – A Florida high school has been fined and placed on administrative probation for violating the state’s bylaws by allowing a biologically male student to participate on a female sports team, The Daily Signal has learned.
The move appears to be the first time that a public school has been punished for violating state laws protecting fairness in women’s sports.
“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 Jr. said in a statement to The Daily Signal. “We applaud the swift action taken by the Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior.”
In a letter sent Tuesday morning, the Florida High School Athletic Association informed Monarch High School and its principal, Moira Sweeting-Miller, that the high school “permitted a biological male to participate on the girls volleyball team during the 2022-2023 and 2023-24 Girls Volleyball seasons,” thereby violating FHSA Bylaw 8.6.2 and Florida Statute 1006.205(3)(c).
Florida’s bylaw 8.62 states that “biological males may not participate on a female team in any sport,” the letter reminds Monarch High School. Policy 16.11.6 states that the “use of an ineligible student when self-reported, may subject the school to a monetary penalty of a minimum of $100 per contest and/or other sanctions.”
F.S. 1006.205(3)(c) states that “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex.”
That male student played in over 30 games, according to the letter, and the athletic association has not “received any corrective actions from Monarch High School.”
As punishment, the association officially reprimands Monarch High School with a letter that becomes “a permanent part of the school’s membership record.”
The association also places the school on “Administrative Probation” through Nov. 20, 2024. In this one letter, the school has been reprimanded, fined, and served notice that it is in a “period of warning for a minimum calendar year.”
The letter additionally states that Monarch High School owes a monetary penalty of $16,500 ($500 per contest, in accordance with Policy 16.11.6), and Monarch High School representatives will be required to attend one of the association’s Compliance Seminars in both 2024 and 2025. The high school will also be required to host association staff for an “eligibility and Compliance Workshop” no later than June 30, 2024.