MSHSL agrees to allow boys to participate in dance team

MSHSL agrees to allow boys to participate in dance team Photo: Minnesota State High School League

April 22, 2019 02:42 PM

The Minnesota State High School League has agreed to settle a lawsuit that argued boys should be allowed to participate in high school competitive dance team.

The MSHSL said boys will now be allowed to participate beginning with the 2019-20 season.


The decision came after a federal appellate court issued a preliminary injunction in March, ruling against an MSHSL rule that declared competitive dance to be a "girls only" sport.

"In light of the recent decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Minnesota State High School League has agreed to a settlement of the recent lawsuit that will allow boys to participate in competitive dance team beginning with the 2019-20 season," read a memorandum sent to the activities directors at all MSHSL member schools last week and posted to the league's Facebook page.

"The Minnesota State High School League has long been a leader in providing opportunities for males and females in both athletics and activities, as evidenced by the participation numbers in Minnesota high school athletics. This settlement avoids protracted litigation and allows the MSHSL to work in partnership with our member schools and the Minnesota Association of Dance Teams (MADT) to prepare for the upcoming competitive dance team season.

"The MSHSL is grateful for the partnership and involvement of the MADT and our member schools, who have been key partners in providing outstanding opportunities in competitive dance and developing competitive dance team into the sport it is today."

Dmitri Moua, a Roseville Area High School junior, and Zach Greenwald, a Hopkins High School junior, said they wanted to dance year-round and compete for their schools, but MSHSL rules prohibited boys from joining. The two filed a federal lawsuit this past summer.

A United States District Court judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction last fall, but that decision was overruled by the federal appellate court.

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"This settlement ensures that not only will our clients get to dance this year, but so will boys statewide," an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the boys in court, said in a statement. "We are grateful for Dimitri and Zach's courage to fight for their constitutional rights and are proud of their accomplishment."

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