The "national divorce" comes to Vermont women's sports

AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, File

Not too long ago, Marjorie Taylor Greene raised a lot of eyebrows when she began teasing the possibility of a “national divorce.” While nobody wants to see another disastrous civil war (with much better weapons), she posited that the nation is splitting in two along social lines with the two sides embracing ideas and morals that are so far apart that there may not be any compromise left to be found. I’m still not entirely sold on that concept, but one example that might support the phenomenon has popped up in Vermont and it brings us back to the ongoing debate over males who “identify” as females competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

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Last month, the girls’ basketball team from Mid Vermont Christian School was scheduled to play a game against Long Trail School. Upon learning that Long Trail was starting a transgender player, MVCS canceled the match and forfeited the game rather than being forced to play against a male. That probably should have been the end of the story, but the leftists who control the public schools couldn’t let it rest there. As our colleague Madeline Leesman reports at Townhall, the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) has banned MVCS from all future sporting events because of their supposed intolerance, transphobia, or whatever other woke accusations are in vogue these days.

A private Christian school in Vermont that forfeited a girls’ basketball game against a team with a biological male “transgender” player has been banned from participating in upcoming sporting events.

The Vermont Principals’ Association, which oversees school sporting events, announced on Monday that Mid Vermont Christian School would be ineligible to participate in sporting events and other activities done through the organization.

“The VPA again reiterates its ongoing support of transgender student-athletes as not only a part of building an inclusive community for each student to grow and thrive, but also as a clear expectation by Vermont state law(s) in the Agency of Education Best Practices, and in VPA Policy regarding transgender student athletes,” the announcement said.

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The ugliness in this debate is running deeper and deeper as time goes along. The fact that this is a Christian school we’re talking about only adds another layer to a very nasty cake. This dispute probably shouldn’t be handled as a First Amendment issue, though. MVCS never claimed that their religious liberties were being violated by being forced to play against the team with a transgender starter. They simply said they refused to tolerate the unfairness of putting their female players up against a boy with obvious, inherent physical advantages.

Another serious inconsistency with this decision is found in the VPA’s own policies. They cite a rule banning discrimination against anyone based on their supposed “gender identity.” But who was “discriminated” against in this instance? If MVCS had refused to allow the Long Trail team into their gym or tried to ban the individual trans player from taking the court, that would be one thing. But they chose to forfeit the match, take the loss, and hand the win to the team with the trans player. If anything, MVCS discriminated against themselves.

As I suggested above, this kerfuffle looks for all the world like an example of two groups living in one community that is heading for a local version of a national divorce. You have one Christian school where the administrators are fighting for fairness and respect for actual medical science as it was understood all through recorded history. Arrayed against them is a coalition of some of the most woke public school administrators in the country. (And that’s saying a lot these days.) And that coalition is willing to use its administrative muscle to shut an entire school system out of opportunities and community participation all over their bizarre transgender policies.

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Where is the middle ground in that battle? This isn’t the same as previous questions about access to bathrooms, locker rooms or showers. In some of those battles, idiotic and expensive (but functional) solutions were found by instituting single-person bathrooms, shower stalls, and all the rest. But in Vermont, this isn’t a question of where students engage in particular activities. It’s a question of who is allowed to participate at all. They are effectively canceling an entire school based on the administration’s refusal to go along with something that is obviously unfair and based on unscientific nonsense.

There doesn’t appear to be a compromise here. There are only battle lines to be drawn. Perhaps the parties should contact a divorce lawyer and just get it over with.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024
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