Girls who refused to compete against transgender athlete sue after being pulled from meet

Four West Virginia middle-school girls who forfeited rather than compete against a male-born transgender athlete have sued their school district, saying they were punished by being excluded from the following track-and-field meet.

The lawsuit filed by the Lincoln Middle School students via their parents said the principal and coach barred the girls who engaged in the silent protest at the April 18 track meet from participating in the next competition held April 27.


Their no-throws were intended as a statement against “the ongoing unfairness of permitting a biological male to compete in women’s sporting events,” according to the April 26 complaint.

Four of the girls sued the Harrison County Board of Education, arguing in the lawsuit that they were punished for “exercising their rights to freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution of West Virginia.”

In their corner is West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who filed an amicus brief in Harrison County Circuit Court in support of the girls.

“The only thing this decision does is teach these children to keep their mouths shut and not disagree with what they saw as unfairness,” Mr. Morrisey said in a statement Friday. “That is outrageous and it tramples these students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression.”


In his brief, the Republican Morrisey also argued that West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission was the appropriate body to consider and impose sanctions against the girls, not the middle school.

The girls joined Mr. Morrisey and All-American swimmer Riley Gaines at an April 24 press conference announcing the state’s decision to appeal its Save Women’s Sports law to the Supreme Court after losing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Challenging the 2021 law are Heather Jackson and her child Becky Pepper-Jackson, who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

The day after the press conference, Lincoln Principal Lori Scott told one of the parents that the five girls would not be permitted to participate in the April 27 meet, according to the lawsuit.


The Washington Times has reached out to the Harrison County Board of Education for comment.

Becky Pepper-Jackson won the girls’ shot-put competition at the Harrison County championships, out-distancing the second-place student by more than three feet.

The five girls who protested by refusing to make throws were given forfeits. Bridgeport won the meet with 190 points, edging second-place Lincoln by 10 points.

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