Commentary

Klar: Father of Randolph volleyball whistleblower fired as soccer coach

Travis Allen, father of Blake Allen (left), was fired from his job as a school soccer coach for online comments supporting his daughter’s complaint that a clothed biological male student identifying as a girl watched her and others undress in a Randolph Union High School locker room.


By John Klar
In another twist in the twisted tale of a Vermont girls’ volleyball team ejected from their own locker room due to conflicts with a trans-identifying student who allegedly ogled them, the father of the girl who blew the changing room whistle was dismissed as soccer coach when he refused to publicly apologize for calling the trans student a “boy.” Aside from issues of privacy or gender identification, this raises important questions about government infringement of fundamental free speech rights under the United States and Vermont Constitutions.

The father’s sentiment was not that extreme. In response to a comment by the mother of the trans student on social media, Travis Allen wrote:

“I am the father of the girl you claim ‘made up a story for attention,'” Travis Allen wrote in a Facebook reply to Sivvy. “The truth is your son watched my daughter and multiple other girls change in the locker room. While he got a free show, they got violated.”

The father added: “You think this is fine and dandy. I wonder how you would feel if I watched you undress?”

Free speech is undoubtedly an important liberty. The Vermont State Constitution recognizes this in Article 13:

That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments, concerning the transactions of government, and therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.

It may be that Mr. Allen’s daughter “made up the story for attention,” and then it may not. The school’s decision, as a government entity, to prohibit the father from “misgendering” the child does not seem balanced with silence about the possible harm by the trans student’s mother to “mis-motivate” Travis’s daughter.

But such imbalance has long predominated at the speech-regulating Randolph Union High School, where Superintendent Layne Millington has banned “Let’s Go Brandon” shirts as obscene, a Chick-fil-A fundraiser as hateful, and “there are only two genders” shirts as…well, hate speech. When parents complained about the school’s display of a BLM flag in clear contravention of basic free speech laws, Millington labeled them hateful. And when parents expressed concerns that their daughters were being forced to change in front of a student sporting a penis, they were maligned as hateful bigots and lumped together with those who spewed hatred toward transgender people.

Jordan Peterson has rightly observed that this is not about banning a hateful word, but mandating required speech:

“I’m not going to cede linguistic territory to post-modernist neo-Marxists.” The difference is whether the question is asked by an individual or forced by the state. … .He believes that state-imposed speech — in whatever capacity or form — is a red flag designating an oppressive and denigrating society. … By forcing people to say one thing or another, it is an absolute abuse of state power. … To Peterson, transgenderism has no foundation in biology, but transgender individuals can have rights if they so wish. However, he has been labelled alt-right incorrectly due to his opposing stance to issues that fall far beyond transgender rights, but to general freedom and free speech.

Superintendent Layne Millington’s speech-regulating practices constitute content-filtering totalitarianism that has caused parents to recoil and fight back — exactly as Dr. Peterson warned would happen if people’s psyches were enslaved by state ideology. Peterson warns that the natural human reaction will yield far-right extremism. Millington falsely portrays justifiably concerned parents as far-right extremists, fueling a divisive vicious cycle that empowers him to in turn enforce even more of his social-justice social media policing powers.

Travis Allen offered to pull the Facebook post and call the students by their names without pronouns at school, but that was not acceptable to Herr Millington, who wrote in an October 18 letter to the fired father:

While you have a right to your own opinions, you have chosen to publicly put yourself in opposition to the principles the district and its coaches are compelled to uphold. … The district offered to work with you to make these matters right, the two possible solutions you offered were insufficient to re-establish the public trust you have damaged: avoiding using gender pronouns when communicating with transgender students and taking down the posts. The district recommended a public apology which you refused leaving the matter unresolved. Therefore, you have been suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. You were also offered the opportunity to change your mind at any time during the suspension in order to make things right and to earn back the public trust in your ability to support all students in your role as RUHS coach.

There is no right here for Travis Allen to have his own opinions, only to accept the principles of the principals, to do what is “recommended” as the “offered opportunity” to publicly recant. In an inquisition, the prisoner may always confess his/her/their sins. When the Taliban visits, the subject can “make matters right” by “earning back the public trust.” Mao’s Red Guard similarly secured obedience through public shaming.

Layne Millington exhibits a calculated effort to present this ongoing dispute as one of pro- versus anti-trans. This will be a tough battle for him, since the social construct that there are numerous genders conflicts with the biological evidence to the contrary, and the only way to resolve that discussion is via…open dialogue. And it is tough to enjoy open dialogue about science when one side is systemically shushed.

Vermont offers experimental gender-shifting hormones to prepubescent children. These are “off-label,” meaning they are not approved by the FDA. A pending statute would provide these harmful pharmaceuticals to children with no age restrictions, without parental consent. Perhaps questioning that treatment of their children will be determined by the speech police to be as verboten as “misgendering” pronouns.

Shush…

The author is a Brookfield farmer, lawyer, and candidate for the Vermont Senate, as well as the husband of House candidate Jackie Klar.

Categories: Commentary

44 replies »

  1. DEI is hard at work creating the opposite of their stated dogma. Ironically, DEI is the Latin word for God, doesn’t this opposite effect make anyone wonder if this “DEI” is the opposite of the attributes of God as traditionally understood? just asking.

    • It was “DIE” for about a year before they figured it out, and in classic lefty Orwellian fashion, they demanded that everyone change the order of their own original acronym. Spell it DIE now and watch them reeeeeeee for laughs, but you might get fired or something.

    • It was “DIE” for about a year before they figured it out, and in true lefty Orwellian fashion, demanded that everyone change it around. For laughs, spell it “DIE” and watch them reeeeee, but be careful, you might get fired or something.

  2. These kinds of travesties will be remedied when wrongful dismissal lawsuits get filed and juries of common-sense people award large punitive penalties upon the school districts. John Klar being an attorney of common-sense, does this sound like the remedy?

    • Large punitive penalties on the School District are soon forgotten, as these awards are paid from insurance and/or taxpayers. Most Taxpayers and Voters have very short memories and soon forget why their school tax bill went up so much…The perpetrators, if you will- have no ‘skin in the game’. Penalties need to fall on those individuals responsible. Such as the School Board, the Principal and Superintendent of Schools.
      The only way to right the wrong is to impact the responsible parties.
      How that’s accomplished when those responsible are indemnified is the next question.

  3. Nor should he recant. There have been many places where a “ trans” person has been able to gain access to female locker rooms and do terrible things to our girls. The last being a male who claimed to be trans raped several girls in those locker rooms. These girls should never have been removed from the use of their locker rooms simply because someone claims to be trans but is really a voyeur or pedophile. The superintendent needs to be replaced before something terrible happens!!

    • Wait til you hear about date rape. Whoo…if you think trans kids in girl’s bathrooms are bad, there are large swaths of non-trans friends, acquaintances, and romantic partners that will not only rape women in bathrooms, they’ll do it anywhere. Cars. Parent’s basement. Alleyway at Stanford University. Dorm rooms. Living Rooms. Nowhere is safe. I mean, we could ban all men from any space where they could be alone with a woman unless she consents each and every time, but even then, it’s those people she consents to because of a personal attachment that are most likely to sexually assault them.

      FYI – the story you’re referencing wasn’t a trans student. And bathroom policy or not (I’m not sure they even had a trans bathroom policy), that isn’t going to prevent sexual assault. If you’re deranged enough to sexually assault a woman, to you’re not going to say to yourself, ” even though I identify as a woman, I’m not allowed in that women’s bathroom where I want to rape someone”.

    • Most certainly, yes. There is a balance test used in these cases (the Pickering-Connick test) to determine when a public employee is protected under the First Amendment In my estimation, Travis Allen passes this balance test since 1) He was acting as a private citizen (a father, not a coach) when he made the comments on Facebook and 2) He was commenting on a matter of public interest.

      I believe this is legally very similar to the Tiffany Riley BLM Facebook case (which the school district just settled for an undisclosed sum.)

      • Except Travis has refused to follow district policy and state law to not discriminate on the basis of gender. Refusing to use gender pronouns because you harbor a bias against trans students is an act of discrimination.

        The narrative that he was suspended for exercising speech while failing to acknowledge how his speech has and by his own admission, will continue to discriminate against the students he coaches is as dishonest as his daughter’s lies (the girls were not changing when the trans student entered who left immediately, she was suspended for harassment/bullying witnessed and reported by an assistant coach – overhead by teammates who contradict her narrative, the student was hot luridly staring, the student has been a part of that locker room for several months without issue, etc).

  4. I am reminded of the Borg, the supremely powerful enemy of the United Federation of Planets in the TV series Star Trek-Next Generation. The motto of the Borg was “resistance is futile”.

    It appears to me that the new self-proclaimed and self-appointed societal overlords of language and human identity have adopted the perspective of the Borg.

    In one episode of the Star Trek TV series the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) had to place alert buoys around a planet warning other space travel visitors of the danger of any contact with the planet.

    I wonder if such buoys now circulate around Earth hidden by a Romulan (or Klingon) cloaking device.

    The buoys, if they exist, likely emit a subspace message in a universal language:

    WARNING: planet inhabited by life form that poses a serious threat to other species in the galaxy. Avoidance highly recommended.

    • Yes, I remember the Borg. Their space ship was square. Each Borg’s pronoun was a number, no name. They wore an eye piece on one eye and a communication device. Individual thought was not allowed and all commands came from the mother ship. They were also ruthless and dangerous to all living things. If you couldn’t be assimilated into the hive you were terminated. Sounds a lot like the administration at Randolph High school. Principal LM is the Number 1 Borg. I wouldn’t be surprised if the school was square. Where is our Captain Packard, we need him in the transporter room to beam these dangerous villains to another planet before they terminate anymore free speaking employees.

  5. The Superintendent needs to go. and board members who are up for election supporting this non-sense need to go as well, resign or get voted out. These things distract from what school is for. You don’t hear of any such non sense in the private or Christian based schools… because they do not support this crap!!

  6. The argument is made that a private company like Twitter is not bound by the First Amendment and can therefore “cancel” people. The Randolph school is a public, as in government, school. So how can they get away with enforcing these anti-free speech policies?

    • Millington counts on no one having the will nor the money to sue. I suspect he might be in for a big surprise just as Windsor School District was with Tiffany Riley’s lawsuit (which they just settled.)

  7. That father did nothing wrong and should never apologize. They are trying to force these rules as gender affirming, when it’s really a scare tactic.If I was that father, id get a good lawyer and bring a lawsuit against the school and the superintendent. I would encourage the 9 other families to follow his lead. The biological boy did threaten someone, correct???? That’s unacceptable. How will those girls ever feel safe again???? People -you pay their salaries!!!!! Those girls and that father deserve better!!!! And vote NO on article 22 November 8th.
    Mary

    • No, the transgender student did not threaten anyone. Many of the statements that have been attributed to her have been proven false as the complaining student and her father have been undermined by many other witnesses to the reported events.

      Even if we assuming the student said, “I’m going to kill her” after being shown a video where another student has deliberately fabricated fictions to bully, harass, and dehumanize you, no one can seriously consider that one comment as anything more than a euphemism. If a person is going to out your wife as a former drug-addled prostitute, knowing that the only shred of truth is that she was a dancer at Bubbles during college, your knee jerk comment could well be similar, “I’m going to kill this…..”.

  8. How did things get this far? If a Vermont public school student decides he/she wants to identify as and be referred to as Napoleon Bonaparte would a coach be fired if they addressed him by the name that he/she originally enrolled as? Would the school be sued for not changing all school records for that student to reflect their chosen identity? In the real world, the student would politely and quietly be referred for a psychiatric evaluation. In the real world, both scenarios would be considered likely the result of a delusional disorder or a pathological social contagion.

  9. Thanks for mentioning Gordon B Peterson. He is a gas. Peterson is like a cross between Kermit THE frog and Oscar the Grouch. Legend

    • I disagree. He reminds me of that one uncle who was so mean spirited that he would start a fight every holiday dinner with his opinionated swill.

      Growing up i had more than my share of wet and dry drunks.

      • Jordan Peterson is not at all mean-spirited. He tells the truth, and does it with an intelligence that few can match. Naturally it threatens the less intelligent reality of many, and they blame Dr. Peterson.

  10. Some readers may have attended a recent talk by Professor Nicholas Meriwether of Shawnee State University at Ignite Church. Shawnee State disciplined the professor essentially for refusing to address a male student with his preferred pronouns. The professor fought back and won. The Sixth Circuit appellate court sided with Professor Meriwether on free speech and free expression grounds, writing in part, “Meriwether’s speech manifested his belief that ‘sex’ is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed, regardless of an individual’s feelings or desires.” Check it out: Meriwether v. Hartop, et al, 992 F.3d 492 (6th Cir. 2021). I hope the father fights back. If I am elected to the legislature I certainly will support legislation to fix this.

  11. The behavior of Randolph Union High School officials in this case is shocking and despicable. How have we come to this point where a boy—yes, a BOY—ogles girls changing clothes in their own locker room, and the GIRLS get punished? Topping off the insanity and the wickedness, the father of one of the girls is fired from his job as soccer coach because he called the offending boy … a BOY! Orange Southwest School District Superintendent Layne Millington and, indeed, the entire school board, should be sacked immediately and chased out of town for incompetence and toxic wokeness. The news director at WCAX says the station pulled its story about the affair to protect transgender students. How thoughtful. But what about protection for the girls on the volleyball team? They are the true victims here, and the trans student the station is “protecting,” along with Supt. Millington and his band of nodding nincompoops, are the victimizers. How did we get here? A male student claims he’s a girl, behaves badly and menacingly, embarrasses and frightens a group of girls, unnecessarily creates a scene, and the whole system is flipped upside down to accommodate HIM. He gets coddled and the victims are punished. Ubi sunt old-fashioned decency and common sense?

    • If this were true, then no one would be sitting down while this continued. Except there’s a reason WCAX pulled their original story: it was riddled with fabrications.

      There was no ogling or threats against the student’s teammates safety. The trans student left the very same locker room she had changed in for over two months now as soon as the complainant asked her to leave. Did you realize that this hadn’t become a thing until a student was investigated for bullying and harassing her transgender classmate? Then when she was outed for her discriminatory conduct, this story of, “I’m being cancelled for not wanting a man to watch me take off my bra and panties” becomes the narrative? Did you watch the Tucker interview? How neither her or her father could articulate with any specificity the sequence of events and the disciplinary action taken by the school? That the father made a sexually inappropriate public post tagging/responding to the trans student’s mother?

      The “victimized* volleyball player hurled hateful invectives towards her trans teammate, which were overheard and reported by the assistant coach. Her bullying was witnessed by other players on the team. The Captain of which has flatly contradicted the claims made by this aggrieved student. The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the trans student despite news stories that only report comments made by one side.

      The teenage girl lied. Her father defended her – likely without knowing the truth of the matter – as any good father would do. I don’t fault him that. However, his projection of his own sexualization of teenager girls into this transgender student is disgusting. That he doesn’t take issue with a lesbian potentially “ogling” his daughter is further proof of this misogyny that gay girls are okay (even hot) but gay boys or trans girls are disgusting sexual deviants. If anyone is a pervert here, it’s the guy who automatically associates children in locker rooms as a sexual situation.

      Now that the accounts of other witnesses to this affair have been flushed out, we have to stop feeding this burning bush.

      • All of this highfalutin verbiage and twisted logic does not change the basic fact that biological girls were uncomfortable with a biological male in the girls’ locker room, a place created especially for them in recognition of differences observed since the dawn of humankind between the sexes. There is every reason to give boys and girls separate locker rooms and bathrooms.

        It is ludicrous and beside the point to argue that other circumstances, such as who did or said what to whom and when, changed that basic fact. Whatever the precise sequence of events, it is irrelevant and does not alter the girls’ very real and serious discomfort.

        And if a girl indeed “hurled hateful invectives towards her trans teammate,” her anger and frustration would be, I think, an understandable response to having such absurd and uncomfortable “wokeness” thrust upon her. Hurling invective, if that’s all she did, is a far cry from “bullying,” which is an overwrought and probably inaccurate characterization of her behavior. In fact, given the circumstances, she showed admirable restraint!

      • The basic facts are that the girl who said she was uncomfortable did so only after she was facing punishment for bullying that was witnessed and reported by an assistant coach more than two months after the transgender girl had started using the girls’ locker room.

        That uncomfortableness was characterized with falsehoods about what happened to make it seem as though the trans student had gone out of her way to behave inappropriately. She hadn’t. So yes, the sequence of events matters. The truth of this matters.

        That only (4) of however many of the volleyball players allegedly took issue with sharing the lockeroom matters. That the Team Captain called out the lies of the most vocal of these players matters. That the majority of the community supports this girl in the face of this bullying matters.

        It doesn’t matter if you believe there are only boys and girls. You can believe whatever you like. But my beliefs aren’t a valid basis for formulating school policies. State law, individual rights, education officials, school boards, physicians, counselors, in concert with parents and students, are the arbiter of what safe spaces should look like for trans and non-trans students alike. And they’ve decided.

        And it works except in the minds of people who know nothing of the situation except that “they’re letting boys in girls’ locker rooms” as if you’re imagining a scene of near-constant undress. This trans girl, and yes, you can have a penis and identify as a girl, entered the locker room after everyone had changed. Perhaps she always does this. She may change only from pants to shorts and t-shirt to jersey. One row over from everyone else. Or perhaps she’s a part of the majority of girls who don’t care, all standing between the same rows of lockers.

        You don’t know. You have no idea.

  12. The ONLY way to stop this insanity is ASK EVERY candidate for office “what is a biological man?” & “what is a biological woman?” Anyone who dodges that question or pushes the insanity of teens “punking” the system to get attention or TWIST us to THEIR crazy devices must be voted OUT, period..

    • You may be conflating biological sex with gender identity. Yes, generally, biological sex is binary, but accurately, it is not. There are a small but significant chromosomal abnormalities that cannot be categorized as either male or female.

      Gender on the other hand, is mutable. And it has been for Lord knows how long. The Two-Spirit community found in Indigenous peoples has long-since recognized gender binaries are not representative of everyone. The Hmong (I believe) similarly have accepted and honored non-binary persons.

      As a framework for understanding gender identity, consider how our sexual orientation does not align with how we reasonably expect nature/evolution/God would have aligned. There’s no evolutionary advantage to other orientations, generally. And yet, our minds/spirits/bodies have adopted different orientations that are just as innate and natural and normal as our predominant heterosexual identities. This is simply who we are. We don’t fit into two simple, neat categories of anything. We exist on a spectrum because what is evolutionary advantageous is variation.

      If you believe transgender individuals are unnatural or an abomination or deviants then it holds that you should feel similarly towards anyone who isn’t heterosexual. You can’t just hate on one and not the other because they both “come about” the same way. These identities are as natural and as normal as yours and mine. It’s like hating cats with 6 toes but not cats with 5 toes. One, who cares. Two, just don’t adopt a cat with 6 toes.

      • Gender theory has no more connection with our physical world than does religion. I support freedom of religion, but you’re going way beyond practicing your faith by demanding that others convert.

      • This isn’t about gender theory any more than being homosexual is about queer theory. No one is asking anyone to “convert” by providing protection and support for individuals who live in opposition to your beliefs, religious or otherwise.

        The only conversion happening is, just because you’re uncomfortable with homosexuals in your locker room doesn’t mean we kick them out. I don’t care if you share the same beliefs. I care if your beliefs lead you to infringe on the same basic decency you yourself are owed.

        If you don’t like transgender folks. Fine. Don’t like them. Just don’t pretend like they’re doing something to you. They’re not.

      • You’re working to create a theocratic government based on your religion. Your evangelists and priests may have “MD” or “PhD” after their name or “Rep” or “Sen” before their name, but they are still evangelists and priests.

        You may loathe and hate me, and stone me with false, slanderous accusations. I will remain a happy free-thinker even if you try to deport me to re-education camps, throw me in the dungeon, shoot me with a firing squad, or hang me at the gallows, tear me apart on the rack, or burn me at the stake. It seems that there will always be tyrants or wanna-be-tyrants who aim to stamp out free-thinkers.

  13. I agree. By the way, the doctor knows at the time of birth when the doctor takes one look at the child (or during an ultrasound before the birth). A birth record is then created. But now, in Vermont, the adult male or female may attempt to change history and change their “gender marker.” Ridiculous. Current legislators should be also asked why they voted for this nonsense.

    • Maybe ask the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychology Association, any University Childhood Development Department Chair or Gender Studies Chair, or even better, maybe ask a few transgender adults about their experiences and why this is helpful for them?

  14. You might get a copy of “When Harry Became Sally” by Ryan Anderson. He writes, “What’s at stake in the transgender movement is the human person. If trans activists succeed in their political agenda, our nation’s children will be indoctrinated in a harmful ideology, and some will live by its lies about their own bodies, at great cost to themselves physically, psychologically and socially. Lives will be ruined but pointing out the damage will be forbidden. Dissent from the transgender worldview will be punished in schools, workplaces, and medical clinics. Trying to live in accordance with the truth will be made harder.” Mr. Anderson wrote these words in 2018.

    • I might not get a copy considering these quotations clearly lack any basis in the study, practice, and lived experience of providers and transgender individuals. His words read like tomes arguing non-whites are not suited to civilized society.

      Support for transgender individuals is not an ideology in and of itself. It is part of an ideology that seeks inclusiveness, equity, empathy, a living wage, worker’s rights, public education, and so on. I would love to hear about this trans ideology or worldview and why it is dangerous to civilization.

      Because all I see is inclusion and support and empathy and asking for state institutions to extend the same protections we have (only recently) extended to non-heterosexuals who, as you’ll recall, were vilified as deviants and vectors for disease and corruptors of our children. Remember the words used? “They want to turn your kids gay”. As if that was actually possible.

      Remember when it was gays who we thought shouldn’t be allowed in same-gendered locker rooms? Because they’d be stimulated by viewing other boys if they were a boy and girls/girls? We’re in a new cycle of this old pattern of fear about the other. Fear of what we don’t understand. Who we don’t understand. If you haven’t taken the time to volunteer at your local youth LGBTQ non-profit, now is a good time. You can be honest about your values and beliefs. Just maintain an open mind.

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