A Christian school forfeited a girls’ basketball game in the state playoffs because their opponent had a high school boy on the squad. Now the Vermont Principals’ Association has banned the Christian school from future tournaments.
In February, Mid Vermont Christian School’s girls’ basketball team was scheduled to play against Long Trail Mountain, which has a high school boy on its girls’ basketball roster. Vicky Fogg, the head of Mid Vermont Christian School, issued a statement delineating why her school would not play.
“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. Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general,” Fogg stated.
But on Monday the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA), which controls high school sports in the state, sent the Christian school a letter, which 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. Thus, Mid-Vermont Christian school is ineligible to participate in VPA activities going forward.”
VPA executive director Jay Nichols revealed the VPA board voted unanimously, 15-0, to ban Mid Vermont Christian School, saying, “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.”
In January, Fogg wrote to Vermont’s Agency of Education asking permission to receive public tuition funding while noting it had the right to protest anti-discrimination laws.
“As a religious organization, the school has a statutory and constitutional right to make decisions based on its religious beliefs, including hiring and disciplining employees, associating with others, and in its admissions, conduct and operations policies and procedures,” Fogg wrote. “By signing this form, the Mid Vermont Christian School does not waive any such rights.”
“Transgender and gender nonconforming students are to be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as are all other students,” the Vermont Agency of Education’s best practices states. “Generally, students should be permitted to participate in physical education and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity. Participation in competitive athletic activities and sports will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.”