Chris Schulz Published

State Politicians Voice Support For Harrison County Student Athletes Protesting Inclusion Of Transgender Student

A soccer player readies to kick a ball across the field.Hero Images/Getty Images

Multiple West Virginia politicians have voiced their support of student athletes protesting a transgender student’s inclusion in a track and field event. 

Five students forfeited a shot-put competition on April 18 at the 2024 Harrison County Middle School Championships track and field meet in protest of a Fourth Circuit decision that House Bill 3293 violated Title IX protections for gender equality in school sports.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said last week that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider BPJ vs. West Virginia State Board of Education.

Parents for four of the students have since filed suit against the Harrison County Board of Education in Harrison County Circuit Court after the students were not permitted to compete in a scheduled track and field meet on April 27.

The West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) rule book states in its section on sportsmanship that teams, coaches and attendants are required “to remain in or a part of a contest until its normal end as provided by the National Federation Rules of that particular sport.” Failure to do so, it goes on, “will not only involve ejection during that particular contest but shall also involve that student, coach or team attendant not being a part of that school’s team for the next regularly scheduled contest(s) or post season progression in a playoff tournament, as regulated in §127-4-3.7.3.”

Tuesday evening, Morrisey released a statement in support of the students, highlighting a brief he filed in favor of their suit.

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

Morrisey’s amicus brief argues that “the Code of State Rules’ provisions for handling a protest action do not justify the Defendants’ actions here, and the Free Speech implications of the school’s actions are deeply concerning.”

Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, also released a statement condemning Harrison County Schools’ actions on behalf of the Senate Majority Caucus.

“Despite that procedure being clearly defined in the Code of State Rules, Harrison County Schools unilaterally decided to punish these female students by prohibiting them from competing in their next track meet,” the statement reads. “By refusing to adhere to these standards, Harrison County Schools is showing a galling lack of concern for the free-speech considerations of those students, as well as the safety of those students, because of unfair competition with males.”

Congressman Alex Mooney also released a statement regarding the “attack on women’s sports in Harrison County.”

“It is completely outrageous for a school board and coaches to punish girls for standing up for women’s sports. Young women should not be forced to compete against young men. It is asinine and unbelievable that a school in West Virginia, not California, would adopt this woke nonsense,” Mooney said.