COCONUT CREEK, FLA. (WSVN) - An investigation has cleared three staff members at high school in Coconut Creek of wrongdoing for allowing a transgender girl to play on the girls’ volleyball team.

Broward County Public Schools concluded that Principal James Cecil, Assistant Principal Kenneth May and Athletic Director Dione Hester at Monarch High School have been cleared of any wrongdoing after they were temporarily reassigned for allowing a transgender girl to play on the girl’s volleyball team.

The three high school staff members are now back at work.

“They went through an investigated process,” said Lisa Maxwell with the Broward Principals and Assistants Association. “That process is well respected by the employees in the county. We think the process works, and it did.”

Students told 7News they are happy to see their principal back in school.

“Happy that my principal is back, feels like everything is back to normal again,” said one student.

Back on Nov. 27, 2023, the principal and several staff members were reassigned to non-school sites pending the outcome of an “investigation into allegations of improper student participation in sports,” according to a statement from BCPS.

Maxwell said the staff members are happy to be back in the school as well.

“They are very pleased to be back in their respective schools, working and with the kids again,” she said. “They will be pleased to participate in graduation and look forward to planning the upcoming year.”

The district was investigating whether they violated a 2021 state law that prohibits students born male to play on girls’ teams.

“The law was passed by the legislature in the state of Florida, was in fact the law,” said Maxwell. “In fact, any and all laws must be and should be respected and followed. The individuals were unaware that the law was not being followed.”

The Florida High School Athletic Association fined Monarch High $16,500, ordered the principal and athletic director to attend rules seminars and placed the school on administration probation for 11 months, meaning further violations could lead to increased punishments. The association also barred the girl from participating in boys’ sports for 11 months.

The transgender student is a 10th grader at the school but has not been back, along with her mother, who also worked at the school.

According to the school district’s special investigation unit, the mother was also suspended, but the investigation into her status is still ongoing.

BCPS released a statement confirming the recent update into their investigation, along with other penalties and sanctions are still under review.

The investigation by the BCPS Special Investigate Unit concluded and cleared Principal James Cecil, Assistant Principal Kenneth May and Athletic Director Dione Hester of the allegations. The three employees will resume their responsibilities effective Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

The investigation concerning other aspects remains ongoing.


Students said they’re just happy to have things at the school back to normal.

“I don’t think they should have been gone for that long, but I am back they’re back,” said one student.

“I’m just glad [Cecil is] back. He’s a nice principal, and I don’t think he deserved to be gone that long, but we’re all happy he’s back,” said another student.

The fine handed by FHSAA will be discussed at a school board meeting next month.

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