Metro Nashville School Board members won’t update their policy on transgender athletes to comply with a new Tennessee law, but a state legislator says state government officials could penalize the school district for disobeying.

State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Howenwald) helped get the original bill through the Tennessee General Assembly.

That new state law says transgender students can only compete in school sports programs designated for their biological sex.

“The new law wasn’t a suggestion. The law passed, and they [the school district] need to abide by the law. I don’t think the bill has a penalty [for not complying], but if they let a student do that then I think they would wind up having to forfeit all of their games the student played in,” Hensley told The Tennessee Star.

“I think the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) would go by the state law. Regardless of [the school district’s] policies, if they break the law — just like if they have an illegal type of student because of the age — then they wind up having to forfeit all of the games.”

Hensley, who said he served on a school board for several years, said the Tennessee education commissioner could act against any school system that doesn’t comply with state law. The state senator did not elaborate.

“If the school system doesn’t agree with the law then they need to try to change it before they just refuse to update their policy,” Hensley said.

Hensley also said he and other state legislators passed the law to spare female athletes from having to compete against biological males.

Metro Nashville School Board members did not return The Star’s requests for comment this week.

The Tennessean reported this week that six or more board members at a Governance Committee meeting recommended that the entire board vote to defer the policy.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]