High School Snowboarding Coach Fired for Criticism of Trans Athletes Wins $75,000 Settlement

High School Snowboarding Coach Fired for Criticism of Trans Athletes Wins $75,000 Settlement

A Vermont high school snowboarding coach who was fired for criticizing transgender athletes has won a $75,000 settlement from the school but won’t get his job back.

David Bloch, who was the founding coach of the Woodstock Union High School snowboarding team, reportedly settled his case against the Vermont Agency of Education, the Vermont Principals’ Association, and his former school district. The education establishments agreed to pay him the $75,000 settlement, seventeen times more than his annual salary as coach, the Washington Times reported.

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss denied the reinstatement in a hearing in December. Bloch then filed a notice of appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in January. However, Bloch has agreed to drop the appeal of the reinstatement request now that he has accepted the settlement.

Digital Vision_Getty Images (1)

(Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Bloch, who says he is a devout Christian, was fired last year after a decade of coaching at the school for having a three-minute discussion with students about how male bodies have a physical advantage over female bodies in sports.

Bloch filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Vermont in July, six months after being fired.

“Bloch joined the conversation to comment that people express themselves differently and that there can be masculine women and feminine men,” according to a statement from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Bloch in the lawsuit.

“He also affirmed that as a matter of biology, males and females have different DNA, which causes males to develop differently from females and has different physical characteristics, and that those biological differences give males an advantage in athletic competitions,” ADF added.

Bloch, who says he is a Catholic man who believes “that God immutably creates each person as male or female,” says he explained the biological differences between men and women and spoke about DNA, physical development, and bone structure. He also said that males have a decided physical advantage over females.

The coach insisted that the conversation was short, constructive, and in no way disruptive. And he also said he did not name or mention the trans student from the other school.

Still, the day after the conversation, school Superintendent Sherry Sousa fired Bloch and told him he violated the Windsor Central Supervisory Union Board’s policy regarding “harassment, hazing, and bullying” by questioning “the legitimacy and appropriateness of the student competing on the girls’ team to members of the WUHS snowboard team.”

silhouette of snowboarder - snowboarding stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

(Arron Black/Getty Images)

Bloch was also defamed in a letter by the superintendent.

“I find that your use of disparaging names created an objectively offensive environment and constituted harassment based on gender identity, justifying terminating your contract as a snowboarding coach,” Sherry wrote in a letter to Bloch dated February 9.

Sherry fired Bloch and put a red flag on his record to prevent him from being rehired.

“For more than a decade, Dave has led the Woodstock Union snowboarding program to enormous success in terms of both athletic accomplishment and personal growth of the snowboarders,” ADF attorney Mathew Hoffman of the Alliance Defending Freedom said.

“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,” Hoffman concluded.

But in her December decision, Judge Reiss noted that Sousa admitted that she may have mishandled the incident.

“She agrees she could have issued a warning, a reprimand, mandated training, or issued a suspension or any combination of these measures but instead chose termination,” Reiss said. “She has a transgender child, who was previously on the snowboarding team, and felt the issue was an important one.”

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