Federal Investigation Sought after Superior Teen Banned from Dance Competition

Taylor Holt
November 14, 2017 10:30 PM

Attorneys for a Superior teen have filed a complaint in regards to a Minnesota policy banning boys from participating in dance competitions.

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The complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil rights calls for an investigation into the Minnesota State High School League's policy.

The complaint comes after Kaiden Johnson, a Superior High School dancer was prohibited from dancing with his team because of his gender. 

"This is what we had anticipated doing," said Joshua Thompson, Senior Attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Johnson says filing this complaint was a necessary first step.

"There are a lot of Minnesota kids that just want the same opportunity that everybody else can have," said Thompson.

The complaint requests the department investigate the Minnesota state high school league's policy that says dance is a "girls-only" sport.

"We urge them to find that this policy is in violation of Title IX and to hold MSHSL accountable," said Thompson. "They are continuing to perpetuate a policy of discrimination."

Last month, the Pacific Legal Foundation sent a letter asking the league to rescind their policy. Thompson says they still have not heard anything from the league.

"We hope that this complaint filed with the Department of Education and if necessary a complaint filed in federal court will make MSHSL realize that its discrimination must stop," Thompson added.

Kaiden's team is no longer competing in the Lake Superior Conference. The league has decided Superior is not eligible to participate in their competitions because it's not in Minnesota, but Thompson says that doesn't affect their goal.

"Kaiden has been a trooper throughout this. He really believes in the cause," he said."There's no justification in 2017 to prohibit boys from dancing."

Kaiden and his attorney will now have to wait for the department to accept the complaint for investigation. In the next couple of weeks, they do expect to file a federal lawsuit saying the league is violating Kaiden's constitutional rights

Eyewitness News did reach out to the Minnesota State High School League but didn't hear back for comment.


Taylor Holt

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