Sex & Gender /

Vermont School District Ordered to Pay Middle School Soccer Coach Who Objected to Biological Males Using Girls' Locker Room

The district must also reinstate Travis Allen as a coach and remove disciplinary records against him

A Vermont school district has been ordered to pay damages to a father and middle school soccer coach who was suspended after voicing his concern about biological males being allowed to use girls’ locker rooms to accommodate their gender identity.

Travis Allen coached middle school girls’ soccer for the Orange Southwest School District. His daughter, Blake, was suspended in 2022 during her freshman year after she objected to the school’s decision to allow a biological male student who identifies as female into a locker room while she and other members of the volleyball team were changing. Allen was suspended without pay from his position after expressing the same concern on social media.

On June 1, the state district court ordered the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust to pay $123,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. Additionally, the school must remove any documentation of disciplinary action from  Allen’s records. 

According to The Daily Signal, the school board and school officials must “remove any content posted online by the school related to the locker room business as well as from the bulletin board or boards at Randolph Union Middle/High School displaying ‘love and support’ messages to the trans-identifying student.” 

Phil Sechler, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement that the ruling was a “resounding victory for free speech.” 

“Calling a male a male shouldn’t have cost Travis his job and gotten Blake kicked out of school,” he added. “We are very glad that the school agreed to do the right thing by giving Travis his coaching job back and dropping the discipline against Blake. Everyone has the right to speak freely, and we are grateful that this settlement further protects that right.”

“Growing up, my parents have taught me to respect my body, to protect my privacy, and to speak up if I feel unsafe or if something made me feel uncomfortable,” Blake said in a video released by the ADF, which helped the Allen Family sue the Orange Southwest School District and Randolph Union High School in October.

“It is wrong to force girls to change in front of boys,” the teenager said. “And it is wrong to punish girls, like me, who aren’t afraid to say so.”

Allen said his wife and other parents contacted school administrators to oppose the locker room policy out of concern for their safety and privacy. He said the school did not offer the girls any support or solution and instead tried to blame his daughter.

After another student reported Blake for telling her friends a “dude” should not be allowed to use the girls’ locker room, Randolph Union High School opened an investigation, barred the volleyball team from using the locker room, and ultimately claimed that she had harassed and bullied the female-identifying biological male student. In addition to her suspension, Blake was told she had to take part in a “restorative justice circle” with the school’s equity coordinator.

Allen was told he would need to publicly apologize if he wanted to return to his job. 

Although the school district ultimately withdrew its original punishment for Blake, it maintained her dad’s suspension.

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