School suspends coach who stuck up for daughter watched by biological male in her locker room

School suspends coach who stuck up for daughter watched by biological male in her locker room
Randolph Union High School in Vermont

A Vermont school district has suspended a coach who defended his daughter after she objected to a biologically male trans student watching her in her locker room, reports the Daily Signal.:

A Vermont school district under fire for allowing a biologically male student to use the girls’ locker room has suspended a father from his position as soccer coach for using male pronouns to refer to the trans-identifying student.

Travis Allen has been suspended without pay from his job as the Randolph Union Middle School girls soccer coach, Orange Southwest School District Superintendent Layne Millington said in a Tuesday letter. His suspension follows a Daily Signal report highlighting his daughter’s discomfort at a biological male using her locker room while she was changing.

The superintendent, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal, said that Allen was being punished because he “misgendered a transgender student in our district.”

Allen’s daughter Blake is one of several young ladies who said they were in the Randolph Union High School locker room changing when the trans-identifying student, a biological male, entered the locker room.

Several girls who spoke with The Daily Signal said they asked the student to leave, but that the student did not immediately do so. The girls said that the student stood in the corner and looked at them while they were changing, causing them to feel uncomfortable…..

“I am the father of the girl you claim ‘made up a story for attention,’” Travis Allen wrote in a Facebook reply to Sivvy. “The truth is your son watched my daughter and multiple other girls change in the locker room. While he got a free show, they got violated.”

The father added: “You think this is fine and dandy. I wonder how you would feel if I watched you undress?”

…School officials have cited state law allowing for students to use locker rooms and bathrooms that align with their stated gender identity. Those officials have … said … that Randolph Union High School is investigating whether harassment took place when the girls told their biologically male classmate not to come into their locker room while they were changing.

Co-Principal Lisa Floyd told The Daily Signal on Thursday: “The district has policies and procedures to respond to student harassment based on protected characteristics or other misconduct,” she added. “When we become aware that there has been a violation of our policies, including harassment of other students, we respond immediately….we take disciplinary action,” Floyd said.

In some more conservative parts of the country, the father would have the First Amendment right not to use the transgender student’s preferred pronouns. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio ruled that a professor had a First Amendment right to avoid using the pronouns demanded by a transgender student, in Meriwether v. Hartop, 992 F.3d 492 (6th Cir. 2001).

But Vermont is in a much more liberal region than Ohio. Cases in Vermont go first to Vermont federal trial judges, who are quite progressive, and then can be appealed to the New York City-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which has slightly more progressive judges than Republican judges.

Even in progressive areas, though, the father’s single reference to the transgender student as “he” would not be deemed to create a sexually hostile environment in violation of state or federal law.  The school district is wrong to the extent that it suggests the contrary. See, e.g., Milo v. CyberCore Techs., LLC, No. SAG–18–3145, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5355, at *10–11 (D. Md. Jan. 13, 2020) (judge in progressive area rules that trans employee did not experience illegal harassment or hostile work environment despite occasionally being referred to by pronouns at odds with trans employee’s gender identity, and despite being subjected to a “comment” expressing “hatred of transgender people”; “That single comment …. while unquestionably rude, does not …. ‘satisfy the severe or pervasive test.’”).

LU Staff

LU Staff

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