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Christian snowboarding coach, allegedly fired over comments about boys in girls' sports, files First Amendment lawsuit
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Christian snowboarding coach, allegedly fired over comments about boys in girls' sports, files First Amendment lawsuit

A public school snowboarding coach in Vermont, who was reportedly fired over comments he made about males identifying as female and competing in girls' sports, has now filed a lawsuit claiming that his First Amendment rights had been violated.

On February 8, 2023, David Bloch and his team of snowboarders from Woodstock Union High School, located about an hour south of the state capital of Montpelier, were in a lodge together enjoying some downtime during a competition. Bloch had founded the WUHS snowboarding team in 2011 and has had a good rapport with his team members throughout the years.

That day, Bloch overheard a brief exchange between two of his team members, a male and a female. The pair had been discussing a male competitor on the opposing team who identified as female and participated in the girls' division. While the male WUHS team member expressed doubts about boys competing against girls, his female counterpart suggested that he was being "transphobic."

Bloch, a practicing Catholic who believes "that God immutably creates each person as male or female," then joined their discussion and explained the biological differences between men and women regarding DNA, physical development, and bone structure. He also stated that the male physique provided boys an inherent advantage over girls in athletic competition.

According to a new lawsuit filed in U.S. district court on Bloch's behalf, the discussion lasted "no more than three minutes" and was in no way "disruptive." The so-called transgender competitor was never named and was not in the general vicinity at the time. The female WUHS team member involved even thanked Bloch for the "good conversation." The two teams competed against each other without incident that day and rode home afterward on the same bus.

However, the following day, Superintendent Sherry Sousa fired Bloch, claiming that he had violated the Windsor Central Supervisory Union Board's policy regarding "harassment, hazing, and bullying" by questioning "the legitimacy and appropriateness of the student competing on the girls' team to members of the WUHS snowboard team."

"I find that your use of disparaging names created an objectively offensive environment and constituted harassment based on gender identity, justifying terminating your contract as a snowboarding coach," Sherry wrote in a letter to Bloch dated February 9.

The lawsuit also stated that Sousa "remained visibly angry" throughout the meeting with Bloch, perhaps because she may have "a child who identifies as transgender."

Though Sousa admitted that the investigation into the alleged incident was incomplete, Bloch was terminated effective immediately, just three weeks before the end of the season. He was also barred from coaching in the district again. He was reportedly never informed about his right to appeal his termination, and he never received an investigative report about his case, despite repeated requests.

Bloch, who was paid less than $4,500 for the entire 2022-23 season, wants to be reinstated as the WUHS snowboarding coach. Among other things, his lawsuit also seeks to prevent the school board, the Vermont Principals' Association, and other state officials from using "harassment, hazing, and bullying" policies to prohibit "expressing views on differences in and the immutability of sex."

"For more than a decade, Dave has led the Woodstock Union snowboarding program to enormous success in terms of both athletic accomplishment and personal growth of the snowboarders," said attorney Mathew Hoffman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Bloch.

"But for merely expressing his views that males and females are biologically different and questioning the appropriateness of a teenage male competing against teenage females in an athletic competition, school district officials unconstitutionally fired him," Hoffman added.

The district and Vermont Agency of Education have apparently not responded to a request for comment from the Washington Times.

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