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Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops have asked school officials and parents to “make every effort” to reverse action by the local school board on “transgender participation” that would allow boys to compete in girls’ sports teams, among other things.

The Nebraska School Activities Association’s board had voted 6-2 just hours earlier to create a “pathway” for transgender students.

The board acted after four out of six of the school association’s districts in Nebraska voted for a bylaw backed by Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha and Bishops James Conley of Lincoln and Joseph Hanefeldt of Grand Island, which would formalise the long-standing practice of basing high school sports participation on students’ sex at birth.

The bishops issued their statement through the Nebraska Catholic Conference, which represents their public policy interests and lobbied against the association’s board policy.

“The Catholic member-schools of the Nebraska School Activities Association are dismayed by the arbitrary, non-collaborative decision made by the NSAA board to implement a transgender participation policy,” the bishops said.

“The board’s decision circumvents the will of the voting members expressed in the democratic process that was recently completed.”