In 2021, then 10-year-old Becky Pepper Jackson just wanted to run in her school’s all-girls' cross-country team. However, once House Bill 3293 passed the state’s legislature and went into effect she was denied her right to compete in school sports. In conjunction with ACLU National’s Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelovic LGBTQ & HIV Project, Lambda Legal, and Cooley LLP, ACLU-WV is fighting to let Becky participate on her middle school’s girls’ cross-country team.  

We filed a motion for a preliminary injunction (PI), which would allow Becky to try out for her middle school girls’ cross-country team while the case continued. “A fear of the unknown and discomfort with the unfamiliar have motivated many of the most malignant harms committed by our country’s governments on their own citizens,” Judge Joseph Goodwin’s said in his memorandum opinion and order granting Becky’s injunction in July 2021.  

Becky and her mother Heather Jackson, named as her representative in the case, were over the moon.  

“When I told her that we had gotten the injunction, there was a whole lot of whoop-whooping going on,” Jackson said. “We were excited so of course we had to go get ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.”  

In January 2023, the West Virginia Southern District Court dismissed our case and removed the PI that permitted Becky to continue to play sports.  We filed an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and successfully got Becky’s PI reinstated, despite the state’s best efforts to remove it. Shortly after filing the appeal, the Court blocked the state’s effort to kick Becky off her middle school cross-country team.  

In March 2023, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey asked the Supreme Court of the United States for an emergency motion allowing the state to enforce HB 3293 and kick Becky off her middle school’s track and field team. The ACLU, ACLU-WV, and Lambda Legal urged SCOTUS to reject the effort. In a 7-2 vote, SCOTUS refused the State’s Motion. In August 2023, the Court denied the State of West Virginia’s motion to dismiss the PI, and thereby allowed Becky to try out and join her middle school girls’ track and field team. Oral arguments are set for October 27 in Richmond, VA.


Aubrey Sparks, Nick Ward

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

ACLU, Lambda Legal, Cooley

Date filed

February 17, 2023


4th Circuit Court of Appeals


On appeal

Case number