Minnesota Youth Dance League Facing Legal Action After Student is Forced Out of Competion
The Pacific Legal Foundation said it all started with Fox 21's story about Kaiden. Fox 21's Nikki Davidson Reports from Duluth
SUPERIOR, WI — A Minnesota Youth Dance League is facing possible legal action for not allowing a male dancer to compete.
A sophomore on the dance team at Wisconsin’s Superior High School competes in-state, but he was barred from competing in Minnesota because he is a boy.
The Pacific Legal Foundation said it all started with Fox 21’s story about Kaiden.
“We became involved, actually, after reading an article written by your organization and written by you specifically that was forwarded to me by someone who read it all the way out in Washington, D.C.,” said attorney Joshua Thompson.
They decided to do some research and step in.
Back in May, Kevin Merkle, the Associate Director of the Minnesota High School Dance Team Association, told Fox 21 on the phone that boys couldn’t dance in Minnesota, because of Title IX.
“It precludes males from being on teams that are for females, and that was brought in at the time of Title IX when girl’s athletics first started,” Merkle said in a phone interview. “The idea behind that was to protect those teams, and not take opportunities from females. Females can participate on male teams but not vice versa.”
But the foundation said a person’s sex shouldn’t determine opportunities in high school and they believe the bylaw that hasn’t been updated since the 1970’s violates Kaiden’s and any male’s constitutional rights in Minnesota.
The foundation sent a letter to the Minnesota State High School League, letting them know they have three weeks to allow boys to dance, or face a lawsuit.
“We need an answer by then because the dance season is about to start,” Thompson said. “Not only Kaiden, but there are hundreds of Minnesota boys who have contacted Pacific Legal Foundation that really want the opportunity to dance at their high school.”
It’s only been one day, but so far, the foundation said it hasn’t heard anything from the league.
“They have been silent today, and they’ve been silent for six months,” Thompson said. “It’s time for them to justify the discriminatory policy, or change it.”
Pacific Legal said they will file paperwork in Federal court if the league doesn’t respond by November 3rd.