OCR accepts PLF’s complaint and opens an investigation into MSHSL dance discrimination

January 25, 2018 | By JOSHUA THOMPSON

This morning I received some excellent news regarding our representation of Kaiden Johnson. Kaiden, as you recall, is a Wisconsin boy who was prohibited from dancing with his teammates in a Minnesota dance competition because he is a boy. In November, PLF filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, alleging that the Minnesota State High School League violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it prohibits boys from competing in dance. Today, OCR announced that it has “evaluated” the complaint and has opened it for investigation. This is the first vital and important step in ensuring that Minnesota boys have an equal opportunity to dance. Minnesota, which relies on outmoded stereotypes about why boys should be prohibited from dancing, will now have to justify its discriminatory decision to the United States Department of Education.

But this is only the first step. PLF remains committed to getting justice for Kaiden — and the other Minnesota boys, like Zachary Greenwald, who have contacted Pacific Legal Foundation. Regardless of OCR’s future actions, PLF may still file suit in federal court challenging MSHSL’s discrimination as violating the Constitution. In any event, OCR’s decision today is great news for all who think dance should be open to all irrespective of sex.

UPDATE: OCR’s investigation concluded that “the League is not required to provide boys the opportunity to try out for and participate in League-sponsored dance team competitions.” PLF plans to pursue litigation in court.