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VT snowboard coach fired for stating biological fact appeals to 2nd Circuit

ADF attorneys represent David Bloch, who lost his job for sharing view that males have physical advantage over females in sports
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David Bloch
Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom

NEW YORK – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Monday after the district court denied a Vermont high school snowboarding coach’s request for reinstatement after his school district fired him for respectfully expressing his view that males are biologically different than females and that those differences generally give males an advantage in sports.

David Bloch founded the snowboarding team at Woodstock Union High School in 2011 and has served as head coach every year since. 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 district. ADF attorneys filed a federal lawsuit, Bloch v. Bouchey, against state and school officials on Bloch’s behalf in July.

“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. 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,” said ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann. “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.”

In February, Bloch and his team were waiting in the lodge for a competition to start. That day, Bloch’s team was set to compete against a team that had a male snowboarder who identifies as a female and competes against females. During downtime in the lodge, Bloch and his team were sitting at a table together. Two of his athletes began to discuss males competing against females. 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, and that those biological differences generally 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. It took place entirely outside the presence of the male snowboarder who identifies as female, and Bloch’s team and the other team went on to compete without incident. After the competition, the two teams and their coaches, including Bloch, shared a bus home.

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 the student’s presence.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to protecting First Amendment and related freedoms for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

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Related Profiles

Mathew Hoffmann
Mathew Hoffmann
Legal Counsel
Mathew Hoffmann serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a key member of the Center for Academic Freedom.