A Vermont high school snowboarding coach has been fired for stating that males are biologically different than females.
David Bloch founded the snowboarding team at Woodstock Union High School in 2011.
He has served as head coach every year since.
He told the Daily Signal that the job, which only paid $4,439 per season, was his passion.
“I think it’s so incredible to watch the progress,” Bloch said.
He explained that he loves to see his students “sit on top of a giant slalom course for the first time, and you can see the fear in their eyes, and then by the time they make it down, it’s like I wrote them a check for a million dollars.”
However, everything changed when Bloch and his team were waiting for a snowboarding competition to start last February.
They were set to compete against a team that had a male student who “identified” as “female.”
Bloch, a practicing Roman Catholic, told two of his athletes that there are biological differences between men and women.
He correctly noted males do have a competitive advantage against females in sports, even if they claim to be transgender.
The next day, the Windsor Central Supervisory Union superintendent fired Bloch for violating the Windsor Central Supervisory Union Board’s “Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying” policy.
He was also accused of violating the Vermont Principals’ Association’s related policy for “making reference to (a) student in a manner that questioned the legitimacy and appropriateness of the student competing on the girls’ team to members of the WUHS snowboard team”—all outside the student’s presence.
“I was just shocked that I could be fired for literally speaking biological fact,” Bloch said.
The superintendent acknowledged that Bloch was being fired before the investigation into the incident was complete.
Attorneys with the non-profit legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a federal lawsuit in July against state and school officials on Bloch’s behalf.
The group is requesting that Bloch be reinstated.
They claim Bloch was engaging in constitutionally protected speech and the school district unlawfully terminated him for the content and viewpoint of his speech without proper procedural protections.
“The First Amendment ensures Coach Bloch, and every other American, has the right to freely express his views on a matter of profound public concern without government punishment,” said ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann.
“This case isn’t about the real harms bullying and sexual harassment pose in schools. It’s not about participation in sports” but rather it’s about “preserving dialogue on an issue of paramount public importance” Bloch’s lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom previously said in a Sept. 14 filing.
The school district filed a motion to dismiss Bloch’s case claiming he was unlikely to prevail on the merits because his intervention in the players’ dispute was “part-and-parcel of his coaching duties,” depriving his speech of constitutional protection, Just The News reported.
Attorneys with the ADF filed a notice of appeal Monday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to require the school district to reinstate Bloch to his job.
“The school district says that this conversation Coach Bloch had, which was respectful among all parties, harassed the student based on gender identity for a student that wasn’t even present for the conversation at all,” Hoffman told the Daily Signal.
He added, “And so that’s extremely problematic under the First Amendment because what is clear is that we all have the freedom to discuss important matters of public concern and we don’t lose that sacrifice when we become coaches and the First Amendment certainly protects that right against overbroad policies that censor speech, like the ones of issue in this case.”