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Monarch High School principal, 2 others reassigned amid probe involving transgender student athlete

Monarch High students upset that principal reassigned amid trans athlete investigation
Monarch High students upset that principal reassigned amid trans athlete investigation 02:31

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A Broward County principal and two other school officials were reassigned on Monday while district officials conduct an investigation into "allegations of improper student participation in sports," officials said Monday. 

Sources told CBS News Miami that the reassignment stems from the violation of a recent state law that governs sports and gender. Principal John Cecil, an assistant principal, and an athletic director were reassigned as part of the move, the sources said.

Students organized a walkout at the school on Tuesday to protest the reassignments.

"The school is not any good without a principal. We need someone here who is able to lead us. Even though it's a state law, I know according to state law you can't do it, but I think his punishment was too harsh," said a student.

While students said it was a tough topic to talk about because it was a sensitive issue. Others said they supported the student, but the line should be drawn.

"So what I think about the protest is, I just don't think that, I don't think that a trans kid should be part of the girls' team," said student Ginna Forges.

In a written statement, the district declined to provide details about the nature of the investigation, saying only that it involved the principal of Monarch High School and several school staffers.

Monarch High principal, 2 staffers reassigned during trans student athlete investigation 02:38

"Although we cannot comment further, we will continue to follow state law and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigation," district spokesman John Sullivan said in a written statement. "We are committed to providing all our students with a safe and inclusive learning environment." 

"I don't know if they even knew the law, understand the law, what training the district has given all of our athletic directors, all of out admins, all of our coaches on the law. There's a lot that needs to be known here that is not known," said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco.

We reached out to a family friend of the athlete, who said the student and the family didn't want to talk when this information came to light Monday.

"It's horrendous first on just a human level that the school would out somebody on an issue like this that's obviously incredibly sensitive. It's just dumbfounding, and the Broward County Schools should be ashamed of themselves," said Scott Galvin, Executive Director of Safe Schools South Florida.

Florida school staffers reassigned over trans athlete law 

Sources told CBS News Miami, however, that the controversy concerns a volleyball player at the high school who transitioned from male to female several years ago.

The district's superintendent, in consultation with the regional superintendent, made the decision to reassign Principal James Cecil and the two others after an allegation was made that a girl's volleyball team player had been born a male.  

Officials did not comment on the nature of the investigation or say what led to the probe.

According to the website for the school, which is located at 5050 Wiles Road in Coconut Creek, it has a total population of 1,571 students.

The school says its students are able to participate in a variety of activities, according to its website.

"Monarch students are provided leadership opportunities through co-curricular and extra-curricular activities," the district said. "Student government, clubs, chorus, band, sports teams, debate, academic games, and other activities allow students to develop connections to the school and the community. School activities develop character, critical thinking, and sociability, characteristics leading to lifelong success."

Florida adopts controversial law about transgender athletes

The law that may have spurred the investigation in Broward County, known as SB 1028, was approved by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis but it was immediately challenged in court in June 2021.

In a 2021 court document, attorneys for the state argued that the law was aimed at helping ensure athletic opportunities for girls and women who want to play interscholastic or college sports.

But the lawsuit said the law (SB 1028) is "part of a wave of anti-transgender bills" across the country and would "stigmatize this teenager and separate her from her peers and teammates."

Earlier this month, however, a federal judge rejected a challenge to the law.

U.S. District Judge Roy Altman issued a 39-page ruling, saying the controversial law did not violate constitutional equal protection and due-process rights and Title IX, a federal law that prevents discrimination based on sex in education programs. He left open the possibility that attorneys for the Broward County student, identified by the initials D.N., could file a revised lawsuit on the protection and Title IX issues.

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