Earlier this month, the 134th General Assembly Ohio House of Representative passed legislation to ban transgender girls and women from playing college and high school women’s sports. Ohio House Bill 151, passed 56 to 28.
If passed in the Senate and signed by the Governor, this would affect the policies of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association, who do currently have policies that allow for transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports. If adopted, the state would override those policies.
The North Royalton School District is a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, a state organization that oversees all athletic sports for public and parochial schools in Ohio, according to North Royalton Assistant Superintendent Jim Presot. They also run state tournaments and conferences. He said that each district member’s superintendent, principal, or athletic directors are voting members on the association’s policies and bylaws. The North Royalton School District has been a member of this association for many years.
At the May meeting of the North Royalton Board of Education, a discussion took place among board members regarding the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s policy. On the agenda that evening was the adoption of the annual membership to the association. Board member Jeremiah Sawyer made a motion to attach a statement to the annual membership agreement, stating that they did not agree with the association’s bylaw. He asked board members to send a message to the Ohio High School Athletic Association regarding their bylaws relative to a transgender issue. The OHSAA bylaw in question reads as follows: “Boys may not play on girls’ teams unless the overall opportunities, as referenced in the 1979 US Department of Education’s Title IX Policy Interpretation in accordance with Part 1 of the three-part test, for interscholastic competition for boys are less than for girls and the competing schools mutually agree. A male to female (MTF) transgender student may participate on girls’ teams as long as she is compliant with the OHSAA transgender policies” The policy then specifies criteria.
Sawyer said that his intention was not to block that vote, but to bring the measure to the attention of the OHSAA through an attached motion. The motion was made that a notation on the agreement be made that the North Royalton School Board did not agree with a section of the bylaw 1-6-3, showing that the Board did not support that biological males could compete with biological females. The measure failed, with Sawyer and Board member Lisa Shuck voting for the measure and John Kelly, Anne Reinkober and Heidi Dolezal voting against it.
Now that House Bill 151, has passed in the house, it now heads to the Ohio Senate. Currently, the Ohio Senate is in summer recess and won’t return until the fall. “I was glad to hear the House passed HB151 to save women’s sports,” stated Sawyer. “I hope the Senate can get it on the Governor’s desk soon. Eighteen other states have passed similar laws.”

Contributing Writer