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A Vermont school district punished a father and daughter for speaking out against a biological male in the high school girls’ locker room. Now, the district has settled with the family in what its legal team is calling a “resounding victory for freedom of speech.”
That settlement requires that the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust pay $125,000 to the Allen family.
Also under the settlement, the district will reinstate Travis Allen, the father, as middle school soccer coach and will scrub any records of discipline against Travis and his daughter Blake from school records.
The school also must remove any content posted online or on bulletin boards displaying “love and support” messages to the trans-identifying student.
Here’s What Happened at the Vermont School
The lawsuit stems from an incident at Randolph Union High School in the fall. A male volleyball player — who identifies as transgender — attempted to use the girls’ locker room.
“The student walked in and the rest of the team was in there and I was uncomfortable,” Blake Allen said. “I told the school, and they just shut me down and said there was nothing they could do.”
Blake, a freshman on the school’s volleyball team, faced suspension after allegedly referring to the transgender student as “literally a dude,” in a conversation with another student in a classroom.
And Travis Allen lost his position as a middle school soccer coach after he defended his daughter and “misgendered” the trans student in a Facebook comment.
And so the Allen family filed a lawsuit.
A Win for Free Speech
According to Layne Millington, superintendent of the Orange Southwest Supervisory District, the school settled the lawsuit so it can “return our focus to educating students.”
“The district has made no admission of wrongdoing,” Millington said. “Our policies are unchanged and we will continue to comply with our policies and the law.”
But Phil Sechler, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, called it a “resounding victory for freedom of speech.”
“No one should lose their job or get suspended from school for voicing their opinion or calling a male a male,” Sechler said.
And Travis said he feels satisfied with the outcome.
“This settlement was a huge victory for freedom of speech. Not just for Blake and me, but for anyone who wants to voice their opinion on important topics,” he said. “This has taken a toll on our family…. It showed us who will and won’t support us even if they do not agree with our values.”
Even Riley Gaines celebrated the win.
Its 2023 and legal action is necessary to uphold the ability for girls to give consent when it comes to disrobing in front of/being exposed to the opposite sex….Full article here: https://t.co/8te26l9u6J— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) June 3, 2023
“It’s 2023 and legal action is necessary to uphold the ability for girls to give consent when it comes to disrobing in front of/being exposed to the opposite sex,” Gaines tweeted.
It’s sad, really.
But at least this incident in Vermont is one small victory for women. With so many more to go.