Press Release

Kaiden Johnson challenges Minnesota’s discriminatory ban on boys in high school dance

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.”

More information can be found at: pacificlegal.org/kaidenjohnson.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
PLF litigates nationwide to secure all Americans’ inalienable rights to live responsibly and productively in their pursuit of happiness. PLF combines strategic and principled litigation, communications, and research to achieve landmark court victories enforcing the Constitution’s guarantee of individual liberty.

Case Attorneys

Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights. Joshua was raised in … ›

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Anastasia P. Boden

Attorney

Anastasia Boden is an attorney in PLF’s Economic Liberty Project, where she challenges anti-competitive licensing laws and laws that restrict freedom of speech. Anastasia’s practice largely consists of representing entrepreneurs … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Title IX complaint filed against Minnesota State High School League

Pacific Legal Foundation and Miranda Lynch filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding the Minnesota State High School League’s decision to ban boys from dancing.

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Video

Kaiden Johnson—Teen Dancer Kicked Out of Competition for Being a Boy

Kaiden Johnson loves competitive dance, and he is a valued member of the varsity dance team at Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin But the team primarily competes against high schools across the river in Duluth, Minnesota—and the Minnesota State High School League has a “girls only” policy for dance teams

In response, Pacific Legal Foundation is demanding that the Minnesota State High School League end its “girls only” policy for dance teams, so that Kaiden, and any other boy, can compete in high school dance

PLF’s letter to the league, submitted today, warns that if the discriminatory policy is not rescinded, PLF will challenge it on Kaiden’s behalf to vindicate

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Fighting for inclusion and fairness in Minnesota

Hear directly from PLF client Kaiden Johnson and his mother, Miranda Lynch, as they explain their willingness to fight for the right that school athletics can’t turn kids away based on their sex.

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