Playing in a state championship game is a momentous and rare occasion for a high school sports team. The fact makes a Christian high school girls basketball team’s refusal to play in a state playoff game because the opposing team had a biological male trans member on their roster especially notable.
In refusing to play, team leaders noted: “We withdrew from the tournament because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players.”
The move to withdraw from the tournament follows a serious injury to a female high school volleyball player in late October after a biological male trans member on the opposing team spiked a ball into her face.
Rather than commending them for standing on principles, the Vermont Principals’ Association has banned the Christian school from future tournaments.
The Principals’ Association ruling has sparked fierce criticism.
The controversy began in February when outstanding play moved the Mid Vermont Christian School’s girls basketball team into the state playoffs — they were scheduled to play Long Trail Mountain High, which has a biological male on its girls basketball team.
Vicky Fogg, the head of Mid Vermont Christian School, issued a statement noting her concerns. In addition to expressing safety concerns, Fogg wrote: “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
On Monday, the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA), an administrative board that oversees high school level sports programs in the state, issued a letter to Mid Vermont Christian School.
The letter stated: “On March 13, 2023, VPA Executive Council met and determined that Mid-Vermont Christian’s forfeit (2/20/23) and corresponding rationale as shared in the Valley News of 2/25/23, violates VPA Policies which are aligned with Vermont state law.
“Specifically, the school’s actions do not meet the expectations of the VPA’s 1st and 2nd policy, Commitment to Racial, Gender-Fair, and Disability Awareness and Policy of Gender Identity, respectively,” the letter continued. “Thus, Mid-Vermont Christian school is ineligible to participate in VPA activities going forward.”
Jay Nichols, Executive Director of the VPA, stated the board voted unanimously, 15-0, to ban Mid Vermont Christian School. His curt statement read: “If you don’t want to follow VPA rules, that’s fine. But then you’re just not a VPA member. It’s fairly simple.”
The Vermont Agency of Education’s “best practices” states:
“Transgender and gender nonconforming students are to be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as are all other students … students should be permitted to participate in physical education and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity.”
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