Five middle schoolers who protested a trans athlete’s participation are BANNED from future competitions

Five middle school students in West Virginia who objected to a transgender athlete competing in shot put have been barred from competing in events going forward.

Thirteen-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson participated in the Harris County Middle School Track and Field Championship on April 18. This happened two days after a federal appeals court determined that West Virginia’s restriction on transgender athletes violates the adolescent’s rights under Title IX.

When it was their turn, five Lincoln Middle School girls came up to the circle but declined to toss the ball.

Following the student’s exclusion from all future activities, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit against the Harrison County Board of Education on their behalf.

Morrisey stated: “I will do everything in my power to defend these brave young girls. This is just wrong. We must stand for what’s right and oppose these radical trans policies.”

The reason for the suspension of the girls is unknown.

Women’s rights activist and former college swimmer Riley Gaines shared a video on Wednesday of one of the five players taking part in the protest discussing the event during a news conference.

She stated: “Luckily, I found four lovely young girls willing to take a stand with me. We hope that it opens eyes to many more to see that this is not right and the situation is eventually going to kill women’s sports forever”

Following the event, Pepper-Jackson was placed first in the shot put with a 32-foot effort. This was three feet more than the runner-up.

The five athletes refused to compete against Pepper-Jackson, even though he was legally permitted to participate.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice banned transgender athletes from participating in middle school, high school, or collegiate athletics in May 2021. Pepper-Jackson had to fight a long battle to be able to compete in sports.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on April 16 that the 13-year-old is exempt from the ban.

In February 2023, the state tried to remove the adolescent from her middle school track and field and cross-country teams. But the court stopped them.

The ruling does not reverse the ban since it solely pertains to Pepper-Jackson’s situation. But if other transgender student athletes decide to contest it, there may be a problem.

Pepper-Jackson has lived as a female for more than five years. As she started to identify as a female in third grade, she only ever played on females’ sports teams since.

Pepper-Jackson has legally changed her name, taken estrogen hormone treatment, and taken puberty blockers. She also received a birth certificate from the state of West Virginia identifying her as a woman.

In October, Pepper-Jackson said to NBC News that she was not going to give up on her goal of participating in girl’s sports.

She said: “I want to keep going because this is something I love to do, and I’m not just going to give it up. This is something I truly love, and I’m not going to give up for anything.”