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COCONUT CREEK, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida is fining a high school in the Sunshine State for allowing a male student on a female sports team in violation of a 2021 law signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Daily Signal obtained a letter the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sent to Monarch High School and principal Moira Sweeting-Miller regarding the school’s decision to allow a biological male to participate on the girls volleyball team across two seasons and more than 30 games. Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, enacted in 2021 and upheld this year, makes clear that school “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex.”

“FHSAA has not yet received any corrective actions from Monarch High School” regarding these violations, the letter signed by FHSAA associate executive director Justin Harrison stated. As such, the school has been fined $16,500, given a formal reprimand, placed on administrative probation for one year, and will be required to host an Eligibility & Compliance Workshop with FHSAA staff as well as send representatives to a compliance seminar.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida passed legislation to protect girls’ sports and we will not tolerate any school that violates this law,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. told the Daily Signal of the move, which is the first known enforcement action connected to the law. “We applaud the swift action taken by the Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior.”

Mandatory inclusion of gender-confused individuals in opposite-sex sports is promoted as a matter of “inclusivity,” but critics note that indulging “transgender” athletes undermines the original rational basis for having sex-specific athletics in the first place, thereby depriving female athletes of recognition and professional or academic opportunities. 

There have been numerous high-profile examples in recent years of men winning women’s competitions, and research affirms that physiology gives males distinct athletic advantages that cannot be fully negated by hormone suppression.

In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

In the United States, the various aspects of the issue have been highlighted by University of Pennsylvania swimmer William “Lia” Thomas, who reportedly retains male genitalia and is still attracted to women yet “identifies” as female and lesbian. Thomas quickly started dominating women’s swimming after switching from the men’s team and has caused his female teammates unrest due to sharing lockers with them. Yet the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has reportedly pressured swimmers and their parents against speaking out.

Signing and enacting the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act are part of a broader proactive conservative record from DeSantis focused on parental rights, educational accountability, and resistance to indoctrination in so-called “woke ideology” across public and private institutions. DeSantis is currently running on that record for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.