By Michael Bielawski
The principal of a school whose student recently was banned from a local sports team due to a transgender-related controversy says the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) decision harms all Vermont students, not just those excluded from interscholastic athletics.
And a legal organization defending the school agrees, saying “the State’s actions are depriving Mid Vermont Christian students of opportunities that thousands of other students receive in the state.”
Mid Vermont Christian School Head of School Vicky Fogg told VDC: “Christian schools and their families have the right to live out their faith. Mid Vermont Christian School should not have to change its religious beliefs and policies for its students to compete in middle school and high school sports.”
She continued about how these policies may be harming students.
“The VPA banning Mid Vermont Christian School from competing in Vermont athletics harms not only its own students but students at other schools who desire to play sports at Mid Vermont through the member-to-member program.”
The Christian school was a resistance point to the transgender-in-sports push in state education policy earlier this year. The school took a stance when an opposing girls’ basketball team included a biological male on its roster and they decided to forfeit the game.
The result was they got the attention of the State’s Principals Association which runs the sports league. The VPA banned the school from participating in its leagues and they argued that the school is violating their policy on gender identity. Fogg told CNN back in March that they intend to appeal the decision.
The policy’s language includes the prohibition of discrimination “based on a student’s actual or perceived sex and gender.” They also argued that state law affirms this policy.
The result is that 12-year-old Annabella Gordon is not allowed to participate on her local public school’s soccer team, a recreational outlet as well as an opportunity for her to reconnect with old friends.
What are other groups saying?
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker responded to VDC for comment on the matter.
Tucker said, “No student should be excluded from athletics simply because they chose to attend a school with certain religious beliefs. The State’s actions are depriving Mid Vermont Christian students of opportunities that thousands of other students receive in the state. The VPA’s policy is depriving kids of the opportunity to play sports at Mid Vermont Christian and other schools in the area.”
ADF has been in national headlines including for its involvement in a major SCOTUS ruling concerning a gay couple’s wedding cake five years ago. The case involved a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his Christian beliefs. CourtHouseNews.com reported on the matter.
The Biden Administration has also weighed in on the controversy of transgenders in sports recently, it came up at a press conference on Aug. 29. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not explicitly take a stance on the issue, other than to say that the Department of Education is letting schools set their own policies.
“The Department of Education proposed a rule, as you know, that gives schools the flexibility to establish their own athletics policies, and so while establishing guardrails, right, to prevent discrimination against transgender kids,” Jean-Pierre said. “That is something that is incredibly important, that the president wants to make sure that we also do that as well.”
The public was recently polled on the issue as well. According to a recent Gallup poll, almost 70 percent of Americans do not think that biological male athletes should be allowed to compete against women.
In another recent transgender controversy in sports, a high school snowboarding coach filed a lawsuit in July against school officials after he was fired for speaking out about the biological differences between men and women.
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle