A North Carolina school board has voted to forfeit all planned games against a school with a transgender player after a biological girl was injured by the biological male.
The Cherokee County school board voted 5-1 to forfeit all district games against Highlands School, which is in the nearby Macon County School District, “due to safety concerns.”
“The County will not participate in any volleyball games, varsity or junior varsity, against Highlands due to safety concerns,” according to the minutes from the meeting.
The vote came after a female volleyball player at Hiwassee Dam High School was “forcefully struck” and injured when the transgender player spiked her in the head with a ball, according to local station WLOS.
Speakers at the board meeting appeared to be divided on the issue of canceling all games.
David Payne, Athletic Director of Hiwassee Dam, told the Board he had received mixed feedback from his players and parents stating there were “mixed feelings about participating in future games against Highlands.” He added that a statement needed to be made and that “it’s unfair and unsafe.”
Lisa Fletcher, the principal of Murphy High, informed the Board that the athletic association will be addressing the issue of students’ playing based on the sex listed on their birth certificate in the future.
Cherokee County School Board member Arnold Mathews told the station that the vote does not apply to any other teams besides girls volleyball.
Board member Jeff Tatham said, “The biggest thing for us, especially after seeing the video of the injury, we felt very strongly that it was a safety concern. I think most of the board members also felt like there’s a competitive advantage issue.”
“It is the understanding of the NCHSAA that a local school system governs its athletic programs and at any time can determine for whatever reason that a school or team cannot play another school or team,” the North Carolina High School Athletic Association told the station.
“While we would prefer that schools or teams play all games it schedules, that latitude does exist,” says NCHSAA.