West Virginia Judge Sides With Students Protesting Trans Athlete Inclusion

In a recent ruling, a West Virginia judge decided that four middle school girls who protested against a transgender athlete’s inclusion in their track and field competition cannot be punished. The girls from Lincoln Middle School scratched their shot put attempts to avoid competing against Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender student from Bridgeport Middle School, during the Harrison County District championships. Following their protest, the girls claimed they were banned from future competitions and faced additional punitive measures.

Judge Thomas Bedell granted a temporary injunction, preventing the school from enforcing the ban. The judge acknowledged no malice from the school officials but concluded that the girls met the necessary burden for the injunction. The school board argued that the girls were not retaliated against but were subject to an existing policy that bars athletes who scratch in an event from participating in the next competition.

This incident occurred shortly after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state’s 2021 law, which required school athletes to compete based on their biological sex, unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the law on behalf of Pepper-Jackson.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey supported the middle school girls, emphasizing their right to protest and express their views on fairness in sports. Morrisey praised the students for their actions and vowed to take the appeals court’s decision to the Supreme Court. The case represents a significant moment in the ongoing debate over transgender inclusion in sports and the rights of students to protest perceived injustices.