Attorneys on Monday filed an appeal in the case of a Vermont snowboarding coach who was dismissed from his job for expressing his views that males are biologically different than females, and that those differences generally give males an advantage in sports.
David Bloch, who founded the Woodstock Union High School snowboarding team in 2011, was dismissed in February 2023, a day after he expressed his views during a brief discussion with student-athletes on his team.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Bloch in the case, the coach was sitting with his players at a table in a lodge waiting for a competition to start when the discussion began. The opposing team included a male snowboarder who identifies as a female and competes against women.
“Two of his athletes began to discuss males competing against females,” ADF said in a press release Monday. “Bloch chimed in to acknowledge both sides of the issue and respectfully offer his opinion that, as a matter of biology, males and females have different DNA, which causes males to develop differently from females and have different physical characteristics.”
Bloch went on to say that those biological differences give males an advantage in athletic competitions. Also, during downtime, Coach Bloch referred to a male identifying as a female as a male.
“The conversation was respectful among the students and Coach Bloch and lasted no more than three minutes,” the ADF release said. It took place entirely outside the presence of the male snowboarder who identifies as female, and both teams went on to compete without incident and to share a bus ride home after the competition.
The following day, the superintendent of Windsor Central Supervisory Union summoned Bloch to her office and handed him a notice of “immediate termination,” while admitting that the investigation into Bloch’s conversation was not complete. The notice accused Bloch of violating Windsor Central Supervisory Union Board’s Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying policy and the Vermont Principals’ Association’s related policy for “ma[king] 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 that student’s presence.
“For more than a decade, Coach Bloch led the Woodstock Union snowboarding program to enormous success in terms of both athletic accomplishment and personal growth of the snowboarders,” said ADF attorney Matthew Hoffman. “But for merely expressing his views that males and females are biologically different and questioning the appropriateness of a teenage male competing against teenage females in an athletic competition, school district officials unconstitutionally fired him,” he said.
“The First Amendment assures Coach Bloch, and every other American, has the right to freely express his views on a matter of profound public concern without government punishment,” Hoffman added.
Bloch has served as head coach every year since founding the team. Under his leadership, the program has had success both on and off the slopes, including a number of individual state champions. Bloch is a practicing Roman Catholic who believes that God created males and females with immutable sex, and that, based on scientific evidence, there are only two sexes, male and female. He also affirms that sex is determined by a person’s chromosomes. But for sharing those views, school officials terminated his employment and barred him from future jobs in the school.
Bloch and his attorneys filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Vermont in July, asking the court to reinstate Bloch’s position. The district court denied the request in December, and ADF attorneys filed the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on Monday.
Photo Courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom