A West Virginia judge granted a preliminary injunction allowing several middle school girls to compete after the school district banned them from competition after refusing to play against a biological male, according to 12 WBOY, a local media outlet.

Five middle school female athletes forfeited their positions at a track meet in April after they were informed that they would have to compete against a biological male, prompting the school district to allegedly bar the girls from future competitions, according to WDTV News. The students sued and Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia filed an amicus brief in support of the students.


A Harrison County judge ordered that the school’s decision be temporarily halted while the lawsuit plays out, according to 12 WBOY.

“I want to say to these students and their parents: I have your backs,” Morrisey said in a press release. “You saw unfairness and you expressed your disappointment and sacrificed your personal performances in a sport that you love; exercised your constitutionally protected freedom of speech and expression.”

The Harrison County Board of Education argued during the injunction hearing Thursday that it had not targeted the female students but that the district’s rules dictate that athletes who voluntarily remove themselves from a meet will also have to skip the following competition, according to 12 WBOY News. The board reiterated this in a statement following the judge’s decision.

“The students were permitted to engage in their selected form of protest without issue,” the board said in a statement, according to a press release. “In fact, the coaches and principal were aware of the likelihood of the protests and permitted the students to remain on the roster for their events. Those students, like all of the other students on the team, however, were subject to a team rule that any player who scratches in an event cannot participate in that event at the next track meet. This neutral, school-specific rule was in place before the students’ protests and has nothing to do with those protests in any way.”

Two of the students claimed, however, that they had never been made aware of the rule and that they had been made to do additional drills at the following practice as punishment, according to 12 WBOY News.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation