Thirteen high school athletes claim they received suspensions from their athletic director for wearing just sports bras to track and field practice on a hot day, according to a report from an upstate New York news outlet. The district denies this is the reason for the girls’ suspension.
Members of Albany High School’s girls’ track and field told the Times Union that they wanted to practice in sports bras on hot days as their male counterparts ran shirtless at mens’ track and field practice. Athletes told the Times Union that Albany School District Athletic Director Ashley Chapple asked the girls wearing just sports bras to leave practice on Thursday, May 12.
Following practice, 13 track and field athletes attempted to attend a lacrosse game at the school, according to the Times Union. Chapple and three security guards reportedly met the girls and denied the athletes entry to the game. Chapple alleges that the 13 athletes cursed at her, though the girls deny cursing but admit to raising their voices at the administrator, the outlet reported.
On Friday, the 13 girls received suspensions from the school, according to the Times Union. A letter authored by Chapple was reportedly hand-delivered to the girls’ homes. In the last paragraph of the letter sent home, Chapple alleged that each girl “poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic and athletic process,” according to the outlet.
Sophomore track star Jordan Johnson started a petition calling for an end to the district’s “gender biased dress code.” Johnson told the Times Union that Chapple told the female athletes they could not wear just sports bras in front of male coaches.
“Wednesday, [Chapple] confronted us about wearing sports bars and saying we couldn’t just wear sports bras because we have male coaches,” Johnson said. “She said that before and she said us working out is a distraction … We have to cover up because male coaches are around.”
The Change.org petition shows team members posing in just their sports bras while flexing their arm muscles. The petition garnered nearly 4,000 signatures.
“Support the Albany High girls track team as we protest the gender biased dress code. The athletic administration staff is attempting to exclude us from our sport as a result of the misinterpretation of the dress code,” the petition reads. “We’re being punished for practicing in sports bras in the presence of male coaches, while the boys team was asked nicely to put shirts back on and was not punished.”
Albany High School (Albany, NY) Girls Track Team Wearing Sports Bra – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/x3yXl3FIZX via @Change
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) May 18, 2022
The district’s communications director referred the Time Union to a statement from Superintendent Kaweeda Adams, which denied that the track athletes received suspensions for their attire. (RELATED: School District Sues Three Middle School Students For Allegedly Using Wrong Pronouns)
“Members of the Albany High school’s girls’ track and field team served a suspension Friday due to inappropriate and disrespectful behavior directed toward an administrator,” the statement reads. “Their suspension was in no way related to wardrobe.”
The most recent reports claim the school reinstated 12 of the 13 athletes to the team as of Tuesday. Albany Unified School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s inquiry into whether suspensions were lifted for all students.