A Vermont high school has been banned from participating in state athletics after its girls’ hoops team forfeited a playoff game against a team with a trans player.
Mid Vermont Christian School declined to play Long Trail in a Feb. 21 Division IV playoff basketball game because the school believed that playing a team with a biological male “jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players,” officials told Valley News.
On Monday, the Vermont Principals’ Association, which governs high school athletics in the state, announced in a statement that it had ruled that the private religious school had violated its policies on “commitment to racial, gender-fair, and disability awareness” and on “gender identity.”
The officials made an “immediate determination” that the White River Junction K-12 school and its 94 students would be ineligible for state-sanctioned activities and tournaments going forward, the release said.
“VPA policies prohibit discrimination and/or harassment of students on school property or
at school functions by students or employees,” officials wrote.
“The prohibition against discrimination includes discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived sex and gender.”
In a statement to The Post, Mid Vermont Christian School Head of School Vicky Fogg said the school was “disappointed” with the ruling, and planned to appeal.
“Cancelling our membership is not a solution and does nothing to deal with the very real issue of safety and fairness facing women’s sports in our beloved state,” Fogg wrote.
“We urge the VPA to reconsider its policies, and balance the rights of every athlete in the state.”
“Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general,” she told the local outlet.
The Long Trail Mountain Lions had reportedly played 20 regular season games without incident before the Eagles refused to play them in protest.
The conflict underscored a nationwide reckoning with the rights of young trans athletes and the debate over whether it was fair to allow biological boys to compete against girls.
Eighteen US state legislators had recently banned the practice, according to Movement Advancement Project, and state athletic associations in 25 states had issued their own bans or restrictions, according to Trans Athlete.
Vermont is one of only 10 states in the country where the state’s athletic association has “friendly” guidance on the issue of the inclusion of transgender and nonbinary high school athletes, according to the site.