Kaiden Johnson challenges Minnesota’s discriminatory ban on boys in high school dance
November 14, 2017
Superior, Wisconsin; November 14, 2017: Sophomore Kaiden Johnson is a valued member of the varsity competitive dance team at Superior High School. But at a dance meet across the state line in Duluth last year, he was forbidden from taking part—because the Minnesota State High School League classifies dance as a “girls only” sport.
Now, Kaiden has challenged Minnesota’s discriminatory policy as a violation of Title IX, which bars public schools from excluding students from sports and other extra-curricular activities based on their sex. Joined by Pacific Legal Foundation, Kaiden has asked the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to ensure that any boy who wants to participate in high school dance in Minnesota has the opportunity to do so.
“The Minnesota league cannot continue to discriminate by banning boys from competitive dancing,” said PLF Senior Attorney Joshua Thompson. “Title IX’s requirement for equal opportunity for all students, regardless of sex, is crystal clear. Schools cannot tell either boys or girls, ‘you’re the wrong sex, therefore, no dancing for you.’
“This mandate for equal rights is a core principle of the Constitution as well,” he continued. “Therefore, we are weighing our options for legal action in the courts in addition to our Title IX complaint with the Department of Education.”
Kaiden’s decision to bring this challenge reflects his own beliefs. He has loved dancing since he was young, and for years he persevered in the face of taunts from his peers. “When I started dancing at five years old, I knew then and there it was something I really wanted to pursue,” he said. “I believe everybody should have the right to do what they want and what they love. I don’t believe it should be based on whether you’re a boy or a girl.”
“PLF fights for everyone’s right to equal protection under the law,” said PLF President and CEO Steven D. Anderson. “Government discrimination isn’t just wrong, it is flatly prohibited by statutes like Title IX and fundamental guarantees of the Constitution. We look forward to vindicating these vital principles.”
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.