A Vermont Christian school barred from state tournaments and a tuition program has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state.
Mid Vermont Christian School of Quechee withdrew its girls’ basketball team from a playoff game last February because a boy was playing on the opposing girls’ team. The school forfeited the game, saying the boy jeopardized “the fairness of the game and the safety of our players.”
According to the school’s lawsuit, the boy on the opposing team was taller than any girl on Mid Vermont Christian’s team. Video shows the same boy playing basketball against girls, repeatedly throwing elbows and knocking girls down. Mid Vermont Christian says the video underscores their concerns.
However, the executive council of the Vermont Principals’ Association, which governs school sports and activities, ruled in March that Mid Vermont Christian had violated the council’s policies on race, gender and disability awareness, and therefore was ineligible to participate in future tournaments.
The school has filed a federal lawsuit in Burlington, saying the Vermont Agency of Education’s refusal to designate it as an approved independent school amounts to discrimination against religious schools.
A spokesman for the state Agency of Education declined to comment.
The head of the Vermont Principals’ Association said in an email that the organization had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment at this time.
“Mid Vermont Christian and its students are being irreparably harmed” by being excluded from the programs, as well as from middle school and high school sports, according to the lawsuit.
It alleges that the school is also being denied participation in non-athletic events such as debates and fairs “all because the School believes biological boys are boys and cannot affirm otherwise.”
Link to lawsuit here.