Christian coach fired for criticizing Vermont's trans sports policy wins $75K settlement

David Bloch
David Bloch | Alliance Defending Freedom

A Vermont school district has acknowledged that a snowboarding coach did not violate its rules when he criticized a trans sports policy and will pay $75,000 to end a legal battle.

David Bloch, a former snowboarding coach at Woodstock Union High School, filed a lawsuit last year after being fired for saying in a conversation with a student that he believed biological males should not be allowed to compete in girls' sports.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped represent Bloch, announced Tuesday that they had reached a "favorable settlement" with the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Principals' Association. 

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As part of the settlement, local and state officials agreed to pay $75,000 and conceded that Bloch did not violate their Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying policy when he expressed his opinion.

In a statement reacting to the settlement, ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann said that every American "should be able to express their beliefs without fear of government punishment."

"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 the school district fired him because he simply expressed his views," Hoffman stated.

"We're pleased to favorably settle this case on behalf of Coach Bloch, and we'll continue our work to ensure that the First Amendment protects all viewpoints, not just those favored by the government."

Last July, Bloch sued various Vermont education officials, including Heather Bouchey, the interim secretary of the Vermont Agency of Education; Jay Nichols, executive director of the Vermont Principals' Association; Sherry Sousa, superintendent of Windsor Central Supervisory Union; and the Windsor Central Supervisory Board.

According to the complaint, Bloch, a devout Roman Catholic who believes that there are only two biological sexes, briefly engaged in a conversation in February 2023 before a competition on the issue of whether biological males should be allowed to participate in girls' sports.

The conversation was reportedly sparked by Woodstock Union's upcoming competition against a snowboarding team with a male player who identified as female.

The next day, Bloch was summoned to the office of the superintendent of Windsor Central Supervisory Union, who notified him of "immediate termination" even though an investigation into Bloch's conversation had not been completed. 

Bloch was accused of "ma[king] reference to [a] student in a manner that questioned the legitimacy and appropriateness of [a] student competing on the girls' team to members of the WUHS snowboard team."

The superintendent never informed Bloch of his right to present witnesses and evidence in his defense and never provided him a copy of the investigative report, according to ADF. 

Last December, U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss, an Obama appointee, denied Bloch's request for a preliminary injunction but also denied in part a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In January, the ADF appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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