Get our newsletters

Central Bucks may limit students to sports teams of their biological sex


A policy to prevent biological males from playing on female sports teams — and biological females from competing in male sports — in the Central Bucks School District is under consideration by the school board.

During a recent policy committee meeting, members presented policy 123.3, “Sex-Based Distinctions in Athletics.” As outlined, the purpose of the new policy is to ensure that only biological girls play on girls’ teams and only biological boys participate on boys’ teams.

The policy states that it seeks to “preserve fairness” and “provide increased opportunity for girls,” as well as protect girls’ safety. Board members said the proposed policy is supported by Title IX, a 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and educational programs receiving federal money.

Under the policy’s guidelines, interscholastic or intramural athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by the district “shall be expressly designated as one of the following: “males, men or boys; females, women or girls; coed or mixed.”

Teams for females, women or girls will “not be open to students of the male sex, and athletic teams or sports for men, males or boys won’t be open to students of the female sex,” according to policy 123.3

The section of the policy states the district will provide “reasonable accommodations” for females to try out for teams designated for males when there’s no female team for that sport during the school year. The same would be true for a male.

There are no restrictions for any student to join a coed or mixed team, the policy reads.

When a student enrolls in a CBSD school or signs up for a sport, the parent or guardian will designate the student’s sex. That information will be part of the student’s record unless the superintendent or athletic director has “reasonable cause” to believe the student’s sex is other than the one indicated in district records, according to the policy.

School officials can request to see a student’s original birth certificate, if they believe it necessary. If the pupil’s gender identity is different than their sex, the student or parent can inform the district and that identity information and any accommodation requests will be kept confidential, the policy states.

The proposed policy expresses the district’s “environment of respect,” stating, “Central Bucks students and adults are expected to be respectful and welcoming to all students regardless of gender identity or any other class, and violations are subject to discipline under existing policies including, but not limited to, the harassment, hazing, and bullying policies.

It’s expected that the policy will be reviewed by the district’s solicitor and be considered at the policy committee’s September meeting. It could move to the full board for a vote in October.

As the new school year approaches, 27 states have passed, or plan to pass, laws restricting transgender students from participating in sports that do not reflect their biological sex.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.