Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 28 on behalf of a father and his daughter who were punished after expressing their view that a biological male should not be allowed to change clothes in the girls’ locker room of a school in Randolph, Vermont.
Officials at Orange Southwest School District and Randolph Union High School suspended Travis Allen from his job as a middle school girls’ soccer coach and disciplined his daughter Blake for speaking out after a biological male who identifies as female used the girls’ locker room to change clothes.
“A father and his daughter voicing concerns about a school allowing a male student to enter a high school locker room where girls are undressing is entirely expected and appropriate, regardless of whether the male identifies as female,” said ADF Senior Counsel Philip A. Sechler. “Yet for expressing such a commonsense view and noting the fact that the student is a male, Vermont school officials punished Blake and Travis in an effort to silence their views. The First Amendment protects everyone’s right to freely share their beliefs, and we will be asking the court to swiftly halt the school’s blatant violation of Blake and Travis’ free speech rights.”
In September, when the biological male student entered the girls’ locker room while the girls were changing, multiple girls, including Blake, became upset, and multiple parents, including Blake’s mother, called the co-principals’ office to object. School officials told the concerned girls and parents that the male student could use the girls’ locker room even while the girls are undressing or showering, and that if any girls feel uncomfortable, they should use a single-stall restroom outside the locker room.
The day after the locker room encounter, Blake shared her concerns with three classmates, saying the student “literally is a dude,” and “he doesn’t belong in the girls’ locker room.” School officials began investigating whether the comments constituted harassment and bullying and banned the entire girls’ volleyball team from using the girls’ locker room.
Franklin Graham said at the time: ““Just because this boy says he wants to ‘identify’ as a female doesn’t make him a female. Thoughts don’t change facts. Why are people falling for this? We have to stand up for truth and for our rights and not be steamrolled by the transgender agenda in our society today. Simply put, this is discrimination against biological girls and women. What about their right to privacy? What about their sports, their locker rooms, their bathrooms that are being taken over by biological males? These school administrators need to get their heads back on straight.”
On Oct. 21, the school told Blake that because of her comments, she was guilty of harassment and bullying of “a student on the basis of the targeted student’s gender identity.” They ordered Blake to take part in a “restorative circle,” submit a “reflective essay” and serve out-of-school suspension. After ADF filed the lawsuit, an attorney for the school officials notified ADF that the superintendent was rescinding those disciplinary actions.
Travis, Blake’s father, expressed his views on a local news station’s Facebook page after a user identifying as the “mother of the trans student in question” claimed that Blake made up her story to gain attention. In response, Travis wrote, “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 district superintendent then suspended Travis from his job as the middle school girls’ soccer coach without pay for the rest of the season.
Photo: Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom