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DOEBLER: School Directors and Candidates: Will You Answer the Call to Protect Our Girls?

As the chair of Protect Bucks PAC, I’m deeply committed to championing a cause that strikes at the very core of issues facing Bucks County school districts – the fairness and integrity of girls’ sports and the safety and privacy of female athletes.

Our collective efforts have given rise to our Petition to Protect Girls’ Sports, a call to action for our school boards to safeguard girls’ sports and the privacy of our female athletes. This petition underscores why we believe this issue is of paramount importance. In a few weeks, we have collected 1500 signatures in support of this cause, and counting.

Protect Bucks PAC is 100 percent women-founded and women-led. Each of us shares a meaningful personal connection to girls’ sports. We are mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, and friends, and many of us were once young athletes ourselves. These experiences have shaped our understanding of the profound importance of fairness in sports. We know that participation in athletics is key to developing confidence and independence for young women, and that excelling opens doors to opportunities that would otherwise remain out of reach. The advancement of women has come too far to allow girls to be held back by political ideologies.

Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), responsible for overseeing school sports, has relinquished its responsibility to ensure fair competition in girls’ sports by deferring decisions about who can compete to each individual school district. This has resulted in a lack of consistency in policies across our county and across our state. It means that the rules might change depending on where a game, match, or meet is held.

The lack of clear guidance will only harm female athletes. Male athletes possess inherent biological advantages over female athletes. These advantages, such as physical stature, bone density, lung capacity, muscle mass, and wingspan, are well-documented, and they persist even with the use of puberty-suppressing drugs. Allowing biological male athletes to compete in girls’ sports not only endangers female competitors, but also creates an unlevel playing field in terms of roster spots, awards, scholarships, and other opportunities. This past spring, a high school track athlete from western PA was excluded from states when a biological male took her spot. Without solid policies, situations like these will become more common.

It’s also crucial that we implement policies to protect the privacy and dignity of our female athletes in girls’ locker rooms. We firmly believe that it is both unnecessary and unjust to compromise the privacy of female athletes to accommodate male students who may be grappling with identity-related challenges. Practical and fair accommodations, such as providing private changing rooms for students who prefer them, can ensure the comfort and security of all student athletes.

Fortunately, Central Bucks School District has taken an essential step by initiating discussions to establish a clear policy aligning with Title IX protections, intending to maintain separate sports categories based on biological sex. It is our hope that this policy will pass board vote and become district policy. In a similar vein, Pennridge School District introduced a local policy this year that respects sex-based bathroom and locker room access. That policy passed 8 to 1, with the lone no vote coming from the only Democrat on the Pennridge board, Ron Wurz.

But these policies, while commendable, are only the start for protecting girls in Bucks County. It is our hope that all Bucks County districts will implement similar policies, to preserve the fairness and integrity of girls’ sports, as well as the safety and privacy of female athletes.

Board Directors and Candidates for School Board— this issue is too important to ignore. Will you answer the call to protect our girls?

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