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Basketball Coach at Christian School Banned After Refusing Game Against Transgender Player

A basketball coach at a private school in Vermont, which faced a ban from the state’s schools association for forfeiting a game last year to avoid competing against boy who claims to be a girl, is standing by his decision.

The coach remains defiant, despite the severe consequences imposed by school officials who are perceived as extremely progressive.

Chris Goodwin, the coach of the girls’ basketball team at Mid Vermont Christian School in White River Junction, Vermont, made the call that his team would not participate in a state playoff game scheduled for February 21, 2023.

Goodwin’s decision stemmed from the fact that the opposing team included a player who identified as a transgender girl but was biologically male. Goodwin asserted that allowing his girls to compete under such circumstances would be both unfair and potentially unsafe.

Back then, Vicky Fogg, the Head of School at Mid Vermont Christian, wrote in an email to the Valley News, a local newspaper covering White River Junction, that Goodwin forfeited the game because the transgender player “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 wrote.

However, the school quickly faced scrutiny from the Vermont Principals Association, which alleged that Mid Vermont Christian had violated state laws mandating schools to permit transgender athletes to choose the team they feel most comfortable playing for at any given time.

The principals association imposed a ban on Mid Vermont Christian, prohibiting the school from taking part in all VPA-sanctioned activities.

These activities encompass not only sports but also extracurricular competitions like drama and debate competitions, as well as science and math fairs.

In response, Mid-Vermont Christian has initiated legal action against the association, alleging “unconstitutional religious discrimination and hostility.”

The lawsuit names not only the Vermont Principals Association but also the leaders of the Vermont Agency of Education and the state Board of Education as defendants.

The lawsuit asserts that the ban obstructs Mid Vermont Christian from participating in the state’s “tuitioning” program, which is akin to school vouchers that cover student tuition at private schools. Additionally, it impedes the school’s involvement in the state dual enrollment program, enabling high school students to earn college credits.

Goodwin made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” this Monday to discuss his experience and to stand by his actions.

“I’ve got four daughters. I’ve coached them all at one point in their careers playing high school basketball,” Goodwin said as he criticized the idea of boys playing as girls.

“I’ve also filled in for the boys’ coach when he can’t make a practice, and I run those practices, and boys just play at a different speed, a different force … than the girls play. It’s a different game.”

Goodwin clarified that he deemed it “irresponsible” to allow his girls’ team to compete against a male player. He emphasized that it would be “asking for an injury” from the stronger and faster male player.

On March 13, 2023, the principals’ association informed Mid Vermont Christian that the school failed to adhere to its “racial,” “gender-fair,” and “gender identity” policies, rendering it ineligible for future VPA activities.

Mid Vermont Christian’s subsequent lawsuit asserts irreparable harm from being excluded from state sports competitions and academic events.

The lawsuit challenges the state’s imposition of ideological conformity on private, religious schools as a condition for participation in Vermont’s programs.

Chris Goodwin, the coach, defended the team’s decision to forfeit, citing religious beliefs.

Ryan Tucker, representing Mid Vermont Christian, accused the state of silencing dissent and neglecting the biological realities and safety concerns for female athletes.

“The state is basically attempting to purge individuals like Chris and other family members in the state, from public discourse, from the ability … to speak out … on issues of significant, public concern,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

“We’re very confident that we’re going to prevail,” he concluded.


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