by Rep. Art Peterson
I have read articles about the Mid-Vermont Christian School (MVCS) that have made reference to the Biblical tale of David versus Goliath when discussing the now infamous girl’s basketball forfeiture against Long Trail School (LTS), a team with a biological boy on the roster, and the more recent boys basketball playoff game played between these same two schools, won by MVCS. However, I believe the real David v Goliath story is now upon us; MVCS versus the Vermont Principal’s Association (VPA), the monolith and supposed guardian of all that is good in interscholastic competition in our state, which has now unceremoniously banned MVCS from competing with other VPA member schools in any of its extra-curricular offerings.
It’s unclear to me whether or not the VPA offered MVCS’s principal Vicky Fogg an opportunity to meet with them to discuss this issue and what could be done to come to come up with a solution going forward. If no meeting was held I think the action by the VPA is totally unwarranted and could possibly be a death blow to this small private school.
Here are some things to consider:
- This would not be the first time that a much lower cede has forfeited a game to a higher cede in Vermont sports playoffs. This has happened more than once that I know of, a school deciding to save a trip that would probably result in a loss. Forfeitures in playoff games is not new. I’m sure the VPA knows this.
- There is a real safety and fairness issue when boys compete with girls, especially at the high school level. I have heard that the young man at Long Trail is a 6-2 senior. That’s cause for concern if you are the parents of a young underclass girl on the opposing team. Basketball is a contact sport, and these are the playoffs. I wonder how many would want a mature boy pitching to a young girl in softball, or a mature young man batting against a new female pitcher. How about a mature boy spiking a ball into the face of a young female in volleyball. Or a big boy smashing into a girl in soccer. Did the VPA consider any of this before writing their transgender policy? There surely is a safety component here.
- In the end who gets hurt the most by the VPA’s decision? Why, the students at MVCS, of course! Now athletes and others, some who may have worked very hard to excel in their activities, will be shut out of competition. What about them, where do they go, what do they do? What recourse, if any, do these kids have. Did anyone in the VPA think to include them in the discussions around all this? Call me a skeptic but I very much doubt it.
It should be noted also that the transgender youth had options, he could have played boys basketball. If he had Long Trail might have survived MVCS the other night in the playoffs.
When someone commits a non violent crime in Vermont he or she is routinely given multiple chances to learn from their mistakes and turn their lives around. Yet here we have a small religious based private school that makes one decision they felt necessary to safeguard the physical and emotional well-being of their students and they are given what amounts to a life sentence. Fair? I think not. The punishment does not fit the crime.
VPA, get over yourselves, meet with the officials at MVCS, and come up with a workable solution to this problem. And YOU get in touch with THEM….not the other way around.
The author is the House Representative for Clarendon.