LAWRENCE COUNTY, Pa. — The Laurel School District school board unanimously passed a resolution last week that says only biological females are allowed to compete in girls sports.
Thursday night, Laurel played host to a girls volleyball game. Laurel’s new rules give players assurance that their opponents are biological females.
Laurel School Superintendent Len Rich says conversations to enact a new policy that bases gender on a student’s chromosomes started in the spring after a biological male who competed against females - placed ahead of a local student.
Len Rich said, “We believe that biological males have a competitive advantage in the same events as biological females. And then we also believe that in certain sports, having biological males, compete against biological females imposes unwanted risk to the health, safety and welfare of the biological females.”
Laurel is a WPIAL school which abides by current PIAA policy that gives a school principal the ability to decide if a student’s gender is questioned or uncertain.
Laurel Parents like Todd Atkins, who has three girls in sports say it’s the right move.
“I’m proud of them. I’m proud to live here. I think they’re standing up for our girls,” Atkins said. “To me it’s as cut and dry as it gets. If you want to live a different life, I’m all for it. I don’t have anything against it but you shouldn’t be competing against girls in sports.”
The resolution applies to any female sports games hosted at Laurel’s facilities.
Rich said, “We can ask the visiting team as they are there to comply. Should they not comply then we have the option to forfeit or we have the option to compete under protest.”
The superintendent says he understands the ramifications and the potential for blowback, but that he’s ready for it. Girls will continue to be allowed to participate in boys sports - because Rich says they’ve assumed that risk when signing up.
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