Rep. O’Dea Proposes an Amendment to Protect the Safety of Connecticut’s Scholar-Athletes

Posted on May 15, 2023


HARTFORD – On Tuesday, State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) proposed an amendment to HB 6642 An Act Concerning a Title IX Compliance Toolkit for School Districts which would equip school districts to manage participation of transgender athletes in Connecticut interscholastic athletics with emphasis on safety for all children.

“The safety of our children is paramount and as a parent and legislator my concern for them compels me to protect them. When our scholar-athletes in Connecticut gear up to compete, they deserve the confidence that none of their competitors have an unfair and unsafe advantage of speed, size, and strength which could leave them or a teammate seriously injured,” Rep. O’Dea, Deputy House Republican Leader, said. “This amendment would have provided each school district with the tools to handle this complex issue as it arises. Without it, the safety of our children could be in jeopardy.”

Nonpartisan analysis of HB 6642 says the bill will create a task force to develop a “Title IX compliance toolkit for use by local and regional boards of education, students, and guardians.” Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 which prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financing. Under the legislation, school districts who utilize the toolkit will be prepared to “prevent, identify, and respond to reports of child sexual abuse, harassment, and discrimination.”

The amendment would have included language adopted by the International Olympic Committee and allow school districts to implement their guidelines on transgender participation in interscholastic athletics in Connecticut. The amendment is non-discriminatory and included permissive language, not mandatory language, so that individual school districts can decide whether to adopt the policies and procedures.

“At some point, somebody is going to get badly hurt and we are going to regret not addressing this issue,” Rep. O’Dea said. “I hope the concept raised in this amendment eventually resonates for my colleagues in the majority as it does for every parent and athlete in Connecticut.”

The amendment failed by a vote of 94-53, mostly along party lines.

The bill passed overwhelmingly by a 139-9 vote.