Florida Mother of Trans Student Athlete Suggests Teen Was Outed Amid Controversy – News21USA

The mother of a Florida student-athlete suggested her teenage daughter was outed as transgender after the school district reportedly launched an investigation into the teen’s participation on her school’s women’s volleyball team.

Broward County officials last week reassigned Monarch High School’s principal and several other school staff members to non-school sites, according to a Broward County Public Schools spokesperson. The reassignments coincided with a school district investigation into whether the school allowed a trans student to compete on its girls’ volleyball team, News21USA South Florida reported, which would violate state law. While the spokesperson did not confirm whether the investigation and reassignments were related to a trans student competing on the women’s volleyball team, the spokesperson said in a statement last week that they focused on “allegations of inappropriate student participation in sports.”

Staff reassignments and the investigation led hundreds of high school students to go on strike last week, drawing national media attention.

Students at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek walked out of class around noon Tuesday to protest the reassignment of Principal James Cecil and staff.  (News21USA Miami)
Students at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek walked out of class around noon Tuesday to protest the reassignment of Principal James Cecil and staff. (News21USA Miami)

The mother of the unidentified transgender student, Jessica Norton, who works in the information technology department at Monarch High School, appeared to suggest in a statement Monday that the chain of events revealed that her daughter was trans.

“This week so many things were taken from my family: our privacy, our sense of security, and our right to self-determination,” Norton said in a statement through the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. “There is a long history in this country of reporting people against their will; forced reporting, especially of a child, is a direct attempt to endanger the person being reported.”

He added: “We kindly ask everyone to respect our family’s privacy and give them the space we need to talk about our experience on our own terms and timelines.”

Norton also thanked the people of Coconut Creek, where the high school is located and about 15 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, for their “outpouring of love and support” over the past week.

“Seeing the resilience and display of love from our community has been very joyful for our family – the light that guides us through this darkness,” she said. “I want everyone to know that we see you and we are so grateful for you.”

Aryn Fields, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, declined an interview request on Norton’s behalf and said in an email that Norton would not comment on the matter beyond his statement.

A spokesperson for Broward County Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, district Superintendent Peter Licata told reporters that there would be “new processes” for athlete eligibility in the future.

“We will have an additional level of vetting to make sure everyone is eligible for the sport they are playing, across the board, grade level, grades, etc, Licata said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently running for president, signed a bill into law in 2021 that banned trans girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams in public schools. The Sunshine State is one of more than 20 states that have enacted similar measures restricting trans athletes.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A lawsuit was filed in 2021 against DeSantis, the Broward County School Board and several other Florida officials over the law. The lawsuit described the plaintiffs as DN, a teenager who intended to try out for her public school volleyball team in Broward County; Jessica N., the teenager’s mother; and Gary N., the teen’s father. The Human Rights Campaign confirmed to News21USA News on Tuesday that the plaintiffs were the Nortons.

In the lawsuit, the Nortons argued that the state law violated Title IX, a landmark civil rights law that prevents discrimination based on sex in any school that receives funding from the federal government. A federal judge rejected the family’s challenge to the law last month.

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