Mat-Su school board bans transgender girls from school-sponsored girls teams and sports

The Mat-Su Borough School District bans transgender girls from school-sponsored girls’ teams and sports
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 11:47 AM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School Board held a second reading of a proposal Wednesday night, banning transgender girls from school-sponsored girls extracurricular and co-curricular activities in the district.

The proposal — Board Policy 6145 — was initially introduced at a school board meeting on June 1, where it received overwhelming support among the board members.

However, a large portion of those who provided public testimony spoke out against the policy, saying it would open the district up to potential lawsuits.

After public comment had concluded, every board member voted in favor of passing it — a 6-1 tally — except for member Dwight Probasco, the lone vote in opposition.

The board states that there are significant biological and physiological differences between males and females including strength, speed and endurance capabilities, giving males a competitive advantage.

“I would like to thank the board for bringing forth this fairness in sports bill,” Rhonda Witt said. “I think it’s very important for our girls.”

Probasco questioned how many transgender girls are currently competing in sports around the district, and requested a legal opinion on whether the proposed revision to extracurricular and co-curricular activities would interfere with BP 0410 — a Nondiscrimination in District Activities and Programs — which requires activities and programs to “be free from discrimination based on sex… sexual orientation, or any other consideration.”

“I believe strongly that this policy is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist right now so I will not be voting in favor of it,” Probasco said.

The section in question states in part:

“A student who participates in an athletic team or sport designated female, woman, or girls must be female, based on the participant’s biological sex as either female or male, as designated at the participant’s birth.”

“This district is not a safe place for the queer community,” one former student told the board.

The district’s legal counsel, Saul Friedman, said in an email to the district that “BP 0410 would not restrict the effect and implementation of the revised BP 6145.”

With the new rule, each school whose students or teams compete against other schools must designate each school-sponsored athletic team or sport as either male, female or coeducational.

Editor’s note: This article has been clarified to reflect that the school board voted on the trans athlete ban, not the school district.

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