Florida Teacher and Trans Daughter’s Lives Devastated by Sports Ban and Legal Battle

The Florida school board investigates compliance with state law amidst the controversy. Full story. 

Facing Termination

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After allowing her transgender daughter to participate in high school sports, a teacher in Florida is likely to be fired. 

A Life, Ruined

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In response to the situation, mother Jessica Norton has said that the people who outed her daughter ruined her entire life. 

Thriving Before 

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A varsity Volleyball star, Norton’s daughter was loving her high school experience at Monarch High School in Fort Lauderdale up until now. 

The Anonymous Tip

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Last November, an anonymous person tipped off a member of the Broward County school board that her daughter was playing on the girls varsity volleyball team. 

Claiming that it was breaking state law, the anonymous tipster wanted Norton off the team.  

The Restricting Policy

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Due to the 2021 Fairness in Women’s Sports act, students who were not born female are not allowed to participate in female sports. 

Launching an Investigation

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The Broward County school board immediately launched an investigation into Jessica Norton, who was working as a computer information specialist at Monarch High School. 

The investigators said that she didn’t report the child’s true gender on school records and was complicit in allowing her to play, which violates the district’s policy. 

Star Student

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Norton’s daughter was heavily involved at Monarch High School, and was elected both freshman and sophomore year class president, was homecoming princess, and selected as the student body’s director of philanthropy. 

The Before

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“I saw the light in my daughter’s eyes gleam with future plans of organizing and attending prom, participating in and leading senior class traditions, speaking at graduation and going off to college with the confidence and joy that any student like her would after a successful and encouraging high school experience.”

Continuing, “And 203 days ago, I watched as that life was extinguished.”

Forced to Learn Online

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After leaving Monarch, the girl now attends school online instead of in person. Jessica Norton spent 7 years at their district, and had always received glowing reviews and observations. Not one member of the school board responded to her message. 

A Hot-Button Topic 

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Transgender minors have become quite the hot-button topic for both political parties, and Florida has some of the most strict policies regarding them.  Florida is one of the 25 states that have banned gender-affirming care for minors, and is also one of the 24 states that bans transgender girls and women from certain sports. 

Vote Delayed

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Though the school board vote was delayed for another month, the Superintendent Howard Hepburn has recommended that she be fired. Another district committee suggested a 10-day suspension, which Hepburn said no. 

A Big Shift

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When the investigation began, Norton was not the only person who’s work life shifted. The Monarch Principal Cecil and three other administrators were “temporarily reassigned”. They were only reinstated to their positions after student-led protests. For violating the law, the Florida state athletic commission fined the school $16,500.

A Look at the Demographics

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Surprisingly enough, Broward County is one of the states most liberal counties. Broward has more than twice the amount of Democrats compared to Republicans, and has a very large LGBTQ+ community. 

School Board Members

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School board member Daniel Foganholi contacted the police when he received the anonymous tip last November. Foganholi was recently elected by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last year after the previous board member was found “ineligible to serve”. 

DeSantis’s Anti-Transgender Crusade

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DeSantis has spent much of his time in office attempting to curtail transgender rights, including signing the controversial Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The Norton’s are not going quietly, and have launched a federal lawsuit about the act. 

The Transition

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Norton’s daughter began her physical transition at age 11, taking puberty blockers and estrogen. She has not had any gender-affirming surgeries. During the investigation, the investigators pulled all of Norton’s daughter’s school records, interviewed school officials going back to elementary school to see who was aware of her being transgender. 

The Interviews 

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They also interviewed Jessica Norton herself, as well as three players on the Monarch volleyball team. Norton said that her daughter transitioned in first grade, before ever working for the district. 

Others Knew

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It was also not top secret information, as other parents and children knew about her gender identity. In second grade, Norton asked for her daughter’s gender to be changed on her school forms and was told by previous Superintendent Robert Runcie that it was ok. 

District Policy

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According to district policy, gender can only be changed on school forms when it has already been officially changed on their birth certificate. Since they did not amend the birth certificate until 2021, the district argues that she should have requested her daughter’s gender to change back to male prior to that. 

Norton Knew About the Law

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Norton was aware of the law banning transgender athletes when her daughter started high school, but still allowed her to play. Why, you ask? “Because she’s my child and she wanted to play”.

The Team

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Norton was also the junior varsity volleyball coach before the investigation began. The girl’s former teammates have stated that they are not worried about it, and the team does not change clothes or shower together. 

One player said, “I didn’t really have a problem with it because I didn’t think she was a threat or anything to anyone else”. 

The post Florida Teacher and Trans Daughter’s Lives Devastated by Sports Ban first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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