Florida school fined $16,000 for allowing trans teen to play volleyball

A person holding a trans flag in the sky.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has fined a high school $16,500 (£13,160) just for letting a transgender teenager play volleyball. 

The move is believed to be the first time a school has been punished in relation to the 2021 Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bans trans student-athletes from playing in school sports teams that align with their gender identity and was introduced by Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.

In addition to the fine, Florida officials levelled sanctions on Monarch High School, located about 30 miles from Miami in Coconut Creek, meaning it will be on administrative probation for a full calendar year, according to a letter sent to the school on Tuesday (12 December). 

It noted that the student-athlete has been “declared ineligible to represent any member school for a period of one year from the date of discovery [21 November].”

Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr wrote on X/Twitter: “Thanks to [DeSantis], Florida passed legislation to protect girls’ sports and we will not tolerate any school that violates this law. We applaud the swift action taken by the FHSAA to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behaviour.”

The fine represents $500 (£399) for each of the 33 volleyball contests the trans athlete participated during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons.

School representatives will also be required to attend an FHSAA compliance seminars for the next two years, and will be expected to host an “eligibility” and “compliance” workshop based on its learnings in 2024. 

Monarch can appeal the decision within 10 days, with Broward County Public School offices saying its “investigation into the matter remains ongoing”.

The action follows complaints about the trans student competing in the girls’ volleyball team being made to Broward public school superintendent Dr Peter Licata just days before Thanksgiving at the end of last month.

Following an investigation, the school’s principal and other staff members were reassigned, leading to a student walk-out. 

Previously, a federal judge ruled against the student-athlete and her family, who challenged governor DeSantis’ legislation.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of trans inclusion in school sports and revealed that trans women have no advantages over their cis peers in sport