1 week ago

Title IX complaint filed against Minnesota State High School League

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

This morning 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. This is the first step PLF is undertaking to vindicate the discrimination Kaiden Johnson suffered at the hands of the League. More steps are likely to follow. The complaint filed today asks the Office for Civil Rights to open an investigation into the sex-based discrimination being perpetuated by MSHSL. If it finds, as we have alleged, that MSHSL has adopted sex-only dance based on outmoded stereotypes about what is proper for boys and what is proper for girls, we ask that OCR ensure that the League stops its discriminatory practice and allows boys throughout Minnesota to dance.

Last month we sent a warning letter to MSHSL explaining why their policy violates the Constitution. We have yet to hear anything from MSHSL. If they do not remedy their unconstitutional conduct soon, it is likely that we will also file a complaint in federal court to vindicate Kaiden’s right to equal protection under the law.

Today we explained to OCR why MSHSL’s policy violates Title IX, and we have asked OCR to investigate MSHSL. To be sure, Title IX has its problems, but one thing everyone can agree on is that it prohibits intentional discrimination on the basis of sex without adequate justification. Here, MSHSL is intentionally discriminating on the basis of sex simply because it thinks that dancing is for girls. This is as offensive as it is unconstitutional, and MSHSL should be forced to explain its discriminatory conduct in front of the federal officials responsible for enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws.

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K.J. v. Minnesota State High School League

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.

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