Mid-Vermont Christian School banned from tournament play over transgender decision, promises appeal
“Cancelling our membership is not the solution”
By Guy Page
The private Christian school banned yesterday from future Vermont high school athletic tournaments and other Vermont Principals Association activities said it is “disappointed” with the decision and promised to appeal.
“Mid Vermont Christian school is disappointed with the decision of the VPA Executive Council to ban us from participation in all VPA activities. We intend to appeal the decision. Cancelling our membership is not a solution and does nothing to deal with the very real issue of safety and fairness facing women’s sports in our beloved state. We urge the VPA to reconsider its policies, and balance the rights of every athlete in the state,” Head of School Vicky Fogg said today.
The boys basketball team for Mid-Vermont Christian School, based in White River Junction, experienced a thrilling ride to the Division 4 state championship game, losing to bi-state high school Rivendell. But it was a decision regarding the girls’ basketball team that led to being booted from future VPA tournament action. Last month, the MVCS girls’ team forfeited rather than take the court against Long Trail School and its 6’2”, biological male center.
Yesterday, the VPA ruled the school ineligible to join any future “dance” – sports slang for exciting, end-of-year basketball championship tournaments.
“With feedback from membership at large are diversity equity and inclusion in Activities Committee and our activities standards committee, the VPA’s executive Council met today March 13th 2023 to discuss the relevant forfeiture. The result was a determination that policies have been violated at the school level, thus there is an immediate determination of an ineligibility for Mid-Vermont Christian in VPA sanctioned activities and tournaments going forward,” a VPA statement said. The March statement followed a similar Feb. 27 statement.
The VPA decision was greeted with disappointment, concern for freedom of religion, and even outrage by some Vermonters. VDC solicited comments from over 50 people from all over the socio-political spectrum, including many lawmakers. Below are some of the responses:
“The VPA appears to have been overtaken by far-left influencers to such an extent that it is relying on the heavy hand of authority rather than negotiation to resolve this delicate situation,” former lawmaker Bob Frenier (R-Chelsea) said. “But they also support the anti-Christian leftist Democrats in the legislature who want to deny tuition vouchers to religious schools. That authoritarian instinct to deny religious expression is dangerous and I wonder if the VPA polled their members before exacerbating this situation.”
School choice advocate David Kelley defended the VPA decision because it teaches students the importance of following the rules. “One of the most important lessons of high school sports is the importance of abiding by the rules. We live in a world that depends on rules–and laws–and if we can’t follow them then we need to be prepared to accept the consequences. If we believe the rules are unjust then we can work nonviolently to change them. But we don’t write our own rules.”
“I wrote to the VPA telling them that I am very concerned about their decision,” Burlington school parent Jennifer Hume said. “The issue of men and biological males wanting to participate in women’s sports deserves a long and thoughtful study and rigorous discussion that includes everyone. I personally don’t think the solution can ever be to have men compete with women who don’t want to compete against men.
“There could certainly be some creative solutions that no one has thought of yet but to find those, we need to thoroughly and intelligently examine the issue from all angles,” Hume said. “The decision to exclude an entire school full of young people from activities that bring joy, excellent physical and mental health, and that teach discipline and sportsmanship will be detrimental to society as a whole and is cruel to the young people who are being excluded.”
South Hero farmer and free speech activist Robert Fireovid said Vermonters need to get organized.
“A non-profit, something like “Vermonters Against Dangerous Ideologies in Schools” (VADIS), composed mostly of volunteers is needed to educate the public about the dangers youth of ideological (not fact-based) concepts being used in the schools. Concepts such as the Doctrine of Gender Identity, Critical Race Theory, and Global Citizenship,” Fireovid said. “The organization would provide presentation materials to volunteers who would give presentations in their local libraries, churches, and submit articles for publication in their local newspapers. The organization would hire consultants to help prepare and/or review presentation materials. Volunteers in the organization could do double-duty (outside the organization) to help candidates for school board elections.
“The Green Mountain Boys didn’t win Vermont’s freedom without organizing. We have to organize today if we’re ever going to have a chance of winning this fight.”
A retired UVM scientist, Gerry Silverstein of South Burlington, commented: “Vermont preaches “diversity” but, truth be told, the only values and beliefs that are deemed acceptable in the State of Vermont are those detailed in edicts issued by those who control the levers of power.”
And finally, the Hathaway family of Essex Junction en masse sent this note: “This is a real inflection point for our family. While most of our friends have left the state quietly for fear of retaliation from the schools and local media, we remain here, with a great foundation in a local private school, knowing our kids can continue a solid education while living out our family values. Now the public schools, the LEADERS of those public schools that we are forced to pay for, are condemning our private institutions. What options are we left with for our kids? We commend MVCS for taking a stand, the time is now to live out our values.”
Aaron Warner sourced and contributed information included in this news report.