‘I Will Take This as Retaliation’: Police chief and dad says school punishing him for speaking out against biological male in girls’ locker room

It’s NOT about fingerprinting, John Helfant says

Northfield Police Chief John Helfant discusses Randolph locker room incident (Daily Signal)

by Mary Margaret Olohan, republished from the Daily Signal

Another Vermont parent has told The Daily Signal that he believes the school district is punishing him for speaking out against a biological male using the girls’ locker room.

John Helfant is one of the volunteer coaches of the Randolph Union High School girls’ varsity soccer team, he said in a Wednesday phone interview. He said he has served as a police officer for 32 years and is the chief of police of the Northfield, Vermont, police department.

Now he believes that because he spoke out against a biologically male student who identifies as transgender using the girls’ locker room, the school district superintendent is using a technicality to prevent him from continuing to coach the varsity girls’ soccer team.

The father of three spoke out in an interview with The Daily Signal team last week outside of a school forum where community members aired their thoughts on a biologically male 14-year-old student using the girls’ locker room while the girls were changing.

“We’ve been fighting for women’s rights as a nation 100 years at least,” Helfant said in the video interview. “I think this is an invasion of women’s rights, it’s just in a different form.”


On Monday afternoon, according to emails reviewed by The Daily Signal, Superintendent Layne Millington emailed Helfant to inform him that the district does not have a record of Helfant “completing the background check procedure, specifically the fingerprinting check.”

“Beginning immediately and continuing until this matter is resolved, you cannot volunteer in any role or for any activity within the OSSD,” the superintendent said, emails show.

Helfant responded to the superintendent: “I will take this as retaliation for my comments against the OSSD and will be informing my attorney.”

“As you know I am a police officer of 32yrs,” he continued. “I obviously have no criminal record or would not have been able to retire from the State Police nor would I still be Chief of Police in Northfield if I did.”

Helfant also told Millington that he submitted the proper paperwork and fingerprints, adding, “If there is a paperwork snafu it is with your people as I provided them with all required paperwork.”

In a phone interview with The Daily Signal, Helfant said that he had fingerprinted himself—which he told Millington officers do “regularly” at his employment—filled out the paperwork, and turned it into the Randolph Union High School front desk.

“My belief is they’re upset about me being outspoken and they wanted to find a way to get me off the field,” Helfant said.

Millington told The Daily Signal that Helfant “is not an employee and hence cannot be disciplined by the district.” He pointed The Daily Signal to an email in which he told Helfant, “No one works or volunteers in the district without full background checks.”

“We receive an actual letter with the results when they have completed their check,” he told Helfant. “It sounds like based on the conversation you had with the secretary, that you were trying to run your fingerprints yourself. There are select locations that do this type of check and who ensure all the paperwork is together at that time so it all gets to the right place. It sounds like you did not follow this process or go to one of those centers – hence the probable hang up.”

The school superintendent, who has claimed that coverage of the girls’ pushback has sparked hatred and bigotry toward both the trans-identifying student and the school district, also accused The Daily Signal of asking “inaccurate” questions and said he would no longer be responding.

In a Wednesday email to the school district community, Millington canceled all Randolph Union High School and district-level open forums, including a Thursday forum, accusing “local members of the community” of reaching “out to groups around the country to try and stir anger against the district.”

“We have again had several threatening phone calls from across the United States,” he said in the email. “While there are no credible threats, out of an abundance of caution we have ramped up security around the district.”

Chris Hurley, another Randolph Union High School father, told The Daily Signal that canceling the meeting has “nothing to do with security.”

“As momentum grows for his removal, he’s trying to control the narrative and cancels his own forum that allows us to speak directly to him and more importantly the community members that he has hoodwinked into believing that the girls’ parents are mere transphobes and hateful bigots for wanting their children safe,” Hurley said. “Again, Layne and his admin have shown contempt for the very community they are hired to serve. People are growing extremely frustrated with his iron fist style of governance.”

School officials have cited state law allowing for students to use locker rooms and bathrooms that align with their stated gender identity. These officials say that they care about everyone’s safety and that Randolph Union High School is investigating whether harassment took place when the girls told their biologically male classmate not to come into their locker room while they were changing.

Parents who spoke with The Daily Signal last week said neither Millington nor the school forum focused on the most pressing matter at hand: their daughters’ discomfort at having a biologically male student in the locker room able to observe them while they are changing. 

In a previous interview with The Daily Signal, Helfant cited Vermont’s voyeurism statute, which states that “no person shall intentionally view, photograph, film, or record in any format” the “intimate areas of another person without that person’s knowledge and consent and under circumstances in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

“There are no exemptions for schools,” he said, emphasizing that it is “clearly a law violation for a male student to view, watch a female student change her bra or underwear in a women’s locker room or bathroom.”

“My entire life, there’s been this fight for women’s rights and equal pay,” Helfant added. “Guys are literally attacking women’s rights that have been fought so hard for since, you know, the last 100 years, since the suffragettes and to the present time. So it just doesn’t make any sense to me. And I don’t understand why more people aren’t speaking out against it.”

Millington also suspended Travis Allen without pay from his position as the coach of the middle school girls’ soccer team for using male pronouns to refer to the trans-identifying student. That suspension also followed the Daily Signal report highlighting Allen’s daughter’s discomfort at a biological male using her locker room while she was changing.

Allen’s daughter Blake is one of several young ladies who said they were in the Randolph Union High School locker room changing when the trans-identifying student, a biological male, entered the locker room.

Several girls who spoke with The Daily Signal said they asked the student to leave, but that the student did not immediately do so. The girls said the student stood in the corner and looked at them while they were changing, causing them to feel uncomfortable.

Allen offered to avoid using gender pronouns while communicating with trans-identifying students and to take down his social media post. But the school district demanded a public apology from Allen, which he refused, resulting in his suspension.

“When he asked me to publicly apologize, I thought about it,” Allen told The Daily Signal on Tuesday. “I did pause and waited a few seconds. And I’m thinking, ‘If I say that I’ll apologize, I’ll be able to coach my youngest daughter for the rest of the season, but I’m going to, in turn, hurt my other daughter, because I’m not standing up for what we believe in, I’m just cowing to them like so many other people have done. And I just can’t do that.’”

Categories: Education

28 replies »

  1. The Transgender mob are out of control, if this kid had a penis he should not be watching girls in their loccer room.

  2. Good for John Helfant for standing up for the girls and for himself. We need more fathers who are good role models for our children, and who aren’t afraid to stand up for them.
    It is troubling that just a year ago the State of Vermont apologized for the 20th state sanctioned eugenics program, but here we are, with the state sanctioning the sterilization of minors by calling it treatment for gender dysphoria using pharmaceuticals and surgery. And public schools are falling in line.

    • That is a brilliant comparison you have made, and it is doubtful the HYPOCRISY has crossed many minds. In the case of eugenics it was deliberately done to PREVENT procreation of people deemed unworthy. In the case of promoting transgenderism or even homosexuality, most proponents have perhaps overlooked the side effect that it prevents the participants from procreating and “making more of themselves”. It has been noted that without heterosexual “breeders”, there would be no more homosexuals. I recently read of a proposal however to have a taxpayer-funded program to freeze the eggs and sperm of those mutilating their reproductive organs specifically to allow their procreation. Where does this nonsense end and why are people of common sense made to pay for it, like we are now by funding public school initiatives promoting the non-cisgender thang?

  3. Many more people need to be like John and God bless him for standing up and speaking out. Child abuse, of any sort or category, is not be tolerated or ignored any longer.

  4. Misogynistic: : feeling, showing, or characterized by hatred of or prejudice against women : of, relating to, or being a misogynist
    Crickets from women’s groups- apparently Millington’s misogyny is accepted now- or it creates a conundrum that womens rights groups cannot handle.
    ACLU? Women’s Sports Foundation? NOW?

  5. When Governor Scott was asked to define what a Woman is, he deferred to those who have created their own identity by pretending to be something which they are not.
    His lack of courage to step up when he was given the perfect platform proved who he is. But anyone paying attention is completely aware of how many times he has proven he is part of the agenda to destroy children and the unborn.
    His 100% rating from planned parenthood would be the death nell for a Real Republican Governor. But Scott wears the mantle proudly. His administration has given planned parenthood Millions of Vermonter’s tax dollars while not providing any funding for any Pro Life or Pro Pregnancy Organization in VT.

    Self identifying doesn’t change anything, you are pretending.
    Just like Scott self identifying as a Republican.
    He consistently ignores the VTGOP Platform, in fact on WVMT a couple days ago he admitted it. And Moments later he told a Woman caller to insulate her home and turn down her thermostat because she can’t afford Heating Oil for her home.
    Almost verbatim of the words Senator MacDonald used when he said tell them to get an Effin blanket.

    Scott’s continued push for the far left agenda has led in part to what happened in Randolph. The war on Women, ( and Girls ) brought to you that say we must accept the sexualization and mutilation of children.

    You all better step up.

    • Jim, when Phil Scott wins, we shall send him a blanket and tell him to turn down the heat in his office to 50 degrees. Tell his staff to “blanket up.”

  6. I would want John Helfant to serve as a coach in any sport in any school in any team my son or daughter attended…we could not find a better role model…come on, Randolph…speak out and show some action!

  7. Beginning to think Randolph and so many other misguided liberal school administrators and politicians fit a recent quote made on the Breitbart website…

    “The difference between how Conservatives and Progressives approach education: Conservatives tend to teach their children “values” then hope their politics will follow. Progressives prefer to teach their children ‘politics’ then let their ‘values’ become formed from there”

  8. From the article: “Several girls who spoke with The Daily Signal said they asked the student to leave, but that the student did not immediately do so. The girls said the student stood in the corner and looked at them while they were changing, causing them to feel uncomfortable.”

    If this is true, the Superintendent by his words and action has not done what he must to protect the safety of the students at RUHS. You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand the clear reading of 13 V.S.A. § 2605, Voyeurism, (Vermont Laws) and to understand that this potential violation of criminal law, carrying a potential 2-year prison sentence should be investigated by the Sheriff in Randolph or the Vermont State Police, as to what actually transpired in the locker room and whether a criminal referral is appropriate. Has such an investigation occurred and if so, what was the result? Is there a report about it and for how long the trans student viewed the female soccer players changing.

    According to state law, the violation occurs when a person, regardless of their sex or gender identity, “views” someone, a male or female by intentionally looking “upon another person for more than a brief period of time.” It states that “(b) No person shall intentionally view, … (1) the intimate areas of another person without that person’s knowledge and consent while the person being viewed… is in a place where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy…” No one, no matter their sex, has the right to violate the privacy of anyone else in this way.

    I am writing this solely on my reaction to the contents of this article. Do the facts as reported point to a violation of the law? If so, considering the words and actions of the Superintendent in regard to the incident, it becomes clear that he should resign or be fired.

  9. Huh, lot more activity here than at True North. I thought I was alone about speaking out until I came over here. Well done Guy….

  10. This is not the first time Chief Helfant has waded into the middle of controversy. He seems drawn to it.

    I prefer old fashioned police officials who at least TRY to maintain an image of impartiality.

    • Not the first time? Please elaborate if there is a history of impropriety affecting his police record of community service.
      In this case, his employment is incidental to the issue. He is a member of the community and father of school age girls. It shouldn’t make any difference what his job is. He has a right to speak his mind.

  11. I can defend this kids gender choice as a first amendment right but the chief has a right to express his as well. Milligan doesn’t even have the guts to state the real reason for dismissing him. Absolutely gutless.

  12. Public school employees are required to be fingerprinted and pass background checks, and school boards certainly can and do require volunteers to do the same – ours does, we require all volunteers to be be fingerprinted and a background check run.

    Intentionally and repeatedly misgendering a person violates Vermont’s discrimination law 13 V.S.A. § 1455

    No one is above the law, even long time law enforcement officers and good guy coaches. In America, if we don’t like a law, we ask our elected officials to change it. If they won’t change it, then we seek to elect officials who agree with our perspectives. In both cases, the majority of people need to agree that the law should be changed, or that the official should be voted out.

    • The law I sited above relates to workplace harassment and discrimination. Repeatedly misgendering a coworker or employee is discrimination that would fall under this law. But students aren’t employees.

      The memo below from the Vermont Agency of Education cites the correct state education policy and laws regarding discrimination and harassment in public spaces related to students and schools.

      • Rep. Sibilia, Apparently you missed the part in the article in which Helfant states he did submit background check and fingerprints. Compelled speech violates the First Amendment. Forcing a person to call another person a She/her when he is a biological male is compelled speech. In a Constitutional Republic, rights of the minority group are not to be violated, even if that minority is one. What you describe, “the majority of people need to agree the law needs to be changed,” is mob rule when said law is unconstitutional. How can a person “misgender” an individual when “woman” cannot be defined? You are correct on one point: representatives like you who do not understand the U.S. and State Constitutions need to be voted out.

      • Guy, Thank you for allowing comments. I learn a lot from commentators. I read the 9 page documents/edu-bestpractices- transgender, ect. ..recommended by Rep. Sibilia. It was eye-opening.

      • Rep. Sibilia, what about the girls’ rights? Placing the transgender student’s rights above the girls’ rights to privacy is not practicing equal rights under the U.S. and State Constitutions. Isn’t placing one group’s rights above another group considered discrimination and possibly bigotry?

      • The education policy says all students have a right to feel safe in school and clearly the girls did not feel safe with a biological boy in the locker room. It will be interesting to see how the school solves this problem. It interests me because situations like this are occurring all over the state.

  13. All I have seen lately is making Article 22 all about abortion and being supported by Peter Welch. Y’all better read it. This is bigger then what the article is portrayed to be.

    I thought I read it correctly to include:

    The proposed amendment includes:

    Guaranteed unregulated late-term abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy up to the day of birth.
    The removal of “conscience protection” for healthcare workers, meaning more doctors and nurses would avoid working in Vermont, creating more staffing shortages.
    Elimination of parental rights concerning children’s sexual and gender related choices.

    I have a question for everyone. Why is the drinking age 21? I have always been informed the brain isn’t fully developed. So how is the brain fully developed for elementary school students and minors to decide on a life altering procedure?

    I challenge anyone to go to a farm and pull up a stool, and starting milking a bull.
    I mean after all this is possible, right?

    This shows you money is more important then our children and the students.

    Yes, this pertains to the story. Sorry it took so long to get there.

    So, don’t forget Peter Welch is supportive of this. Don’t just vote on what they tell you. They only run ads on what they want you to know and hear. Read! Read! Read!
    There is usually more to the story, articles, and bills they want to pass!
    Our children come first as they are the future.

    Thank You

  14. Vote Republican this November…get rid of the clowns who allowed our girls to be intimidated this way

  15. Maybe the tansgendered male did not have his brain and passions altered if and when he, at 14 years old, had any surgeries done so identifying as female and being allowed to be in the girl’s locker room while they are changing is surprisingly still a thrill to him and his developing brain. Or, maybe the transgenered male has become a lesbian now. Just sayin’

    • The trans dude could have been a ‘plant’; to see of the reaction in wearing down the populace. How many school superintendents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

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