Saturday, July 22, 2023

VT coach, a Catholic, fired after conversation about transgender athlete on opposing team

Vermont high school snowboarding coach sues after he was fired for telling  two students that trans women have a competitive advantage over women  athletes due to their biology | Daily Mail Online

Suit was filed this week in a Vermont federal district court by a high school snowboarding coach who was dismissed because of a comment he made regarding a transgender woman on a team that would be competing against his female high school team. 

The school's notice of termination (Exhibit 8 in Complaint) alleges that the coach used "disparaging names" that created "an objectively offensive environment and constituted harassment based on gender identity...." 

In the Complaint (full text) in Bloch v. Bouchey, (DD VT, filed 7/17/2023), the coach however alleged in part:

3. Coach Bloch is also a practicing Roman Catholic who believes that God creates males and females with immutable sex. His understanding of science complements his religious beliefs. Coach Bloch believes, based on scientific evidence, that there are only two sexes, which are male and female, and that sex is determined by a person's chromosomes. 

4. But Coach Bloch's respectful expression of his beliefs contradicted the prevailing orthodoxy of the Defendant Vermont state officials, school district, and superintendent. So, Defendant Superintendent Sherry Sousa terminated him and barred him from future employment in the school district. 

5. On February 8, 2023, Coach Bloch and his team were waiting in the lodge for a competition to start. That day, his team was to compete against a team that had a male snowboarder who identifies as a female and competes against females. During downtime in the lodge, Coach Bloch overheard a conversation between two of his athletes about that male competing against females. 

6. Coach Bloch joined the conversation to offer that people express themselves differently and that there can be masculine women and feminine men. 

7. But he affirmed that as a matter of biology, males and females have different DNA, which causes males to develop differently from females and have different physical characteristics. Coach Bloch discussed that biological differences generally give males competitive advantages in athletic events. 

8. The conversation was respectful among all parties and lasted no more than three minutes. It took place entirely outside the presence of the transgender-identifying snowboarder. 

9. Coach Bloch's team and the team with the male who identifies as a female competed without incident. After the competition, the two teams and their coaches, including Coach Bloch, shared a bus home.

The complaint goes on to allege that the school was acting pursuant to Vermont's Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Law

It contends that the HHB Law and policies under it violated the coach's free speech rights, including the 1st Amendment's ban on viewpoint discrimination, prior restraints and overbreadth. 

It also alleges due process violations.  

ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.