PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota State High School League released a statement Thursday afternoon reacting to a ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday. The court overturned an earlier ruling that denied a requested injunction that would allow two male high school students the ability to participate on their competitive school dance teams.
The Wednesday ruling now grants those two students access to those teams. MSHSL says it will comply with that ruling and issued the following statement:
Since 1997, the MSHSL has restricted participation in Dance Team to girls in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 121A.04, subd. 3(a), which authorizes restricting membership on an athletic team to participants of one sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously been limited.
In adopting the statute, the Minnesota Legislature recognized past inequities in access to athletic programs and athletic opportunities previously afforded to high school girls.
The MSHSL’s position was affirmed by the United States District Court when it denied a motion for preliminary injunction on September 27, 2018.
Yesterday, that decision was reversed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The MSHSL will comply with the injunction while it is in place and will allow boys to participate in MSHSL Dance Team while reviewing the 8th Circuit decision to determine the most appropriate legal course.
Pine Island Activities Director Craig Anderson sits on the board of directors for MSHSL and says he worries boys joining the girls dance teams may effect overall numbers of girls in the sport in the long run.
“We don’t want either gender to say they didn’t get a fair opportunity to be involved in extracurricular activities and that the fact maybe boys might be able to be in dance, says Anderson. “I guess, based on that ruling we will have to see what the long term effects would be.”
The next meeting for MSHSL’s board of directors is Friday March 15th.
The dance season for this school year is already over, so the effect of any further rulings would be for the next academic year.