Track Coach Fired For Suggesting A Way For Transgender Athletes To Compete

( – The battle over the participation of transgender students in school sports has raged for years. Critics believe allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports would hurt female students. An Oregon track coach is now claiming he was fired for suggesting a solution.

John Parks worked as a track and field and cross-country coach at Lake Oswego High School. He led the girls’ team to three straight championships, in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Parks spoke to the media and said in May, he sent letters to Oregon Scholastic Athletic Association (OSAA) Executive Director Peter Weber and state Sen. Rob Wagner (D). He asked the officials to consider an “open division” for transgender students that “offers an opportunity to participate.”

OSAA rules allow students to compete with the gender they identify as once they notify their school of the change. Parks became concerned about the inclusion of biological men on the female teams in May. He said he heard a transgender student being booed after they won an event.

The Lake Oswego Review reported Parks’ wrote the letter before that competition and told officials that many of the state’s coaches felt the transgender student wasn’t running as fast as they could because they thought it would “bring a reversal in the rule.” He said he believed the competition wasn’t fair or honest as a result.

Parks went on to write, “The damage to all the natural born female competitors is real and devastating” because the student was on their way to challenging multiple records set by biological females.

Marshall Haskins, Portland Public Schools’ athletic director, contacted the Lake Oswego School District and accused Parks of contacting other parents and coaches around the state to contact OSAA about the transgender policy. Haskins also said an investigation found the coach was contacting students and parents, “forcing them to participate in his personal agenda.”

Parks was also accused of “riling up” the tournament spectators who booed at the transgender student. The district fired him as a result of the investigation. Parks has denied the allegations.

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