A Vermont middle school coach has been reinstated after being suspended from his position for what the school district called misgendering a student, according to ABC News.
Travis Allen, a girls’ soccer coach at the Randolph Union Middle/ High School, filed a lawsuit in October against the school after he had been suspended for a Facebook post that referred to a transgender girl, as a boy, which the superintendent of the Orange Southwest School District considered misgendering. In a settlement with the district, Allen has been given his job back and his suspension without pay has been wiped from his record, according to ABC News.
“This settlement is a resounding victory for freedom of speech, and we are grateful that the school recognized it was wrong to suspend Blake from school and Travis from his coaching position simply for exercising their freedom of speech,” Phil Sechler, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm that represented Allen, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “No one should lose their job or get suspended from school for voicing their opinion or calling a male a male and we are glad to see this case resolve favorably, not only for Blake and Travis, but for all students and coaches to be able to speak freely and without fear of retaliation.”
Allen’s reinstatement comes after the district agreed to settle with the coach and his daughter over other allegations in the lawsuit; the lawsuit alleged that Blake Allen, his daughter, was suspended from school for two days because she had spoken out against a transgender student that had allegedly watched Blake and her teammates get dressed in a locker room. The student was the same one Allen mentioned in his Facebook post and the district has agreed to pay the daughter and coach $125,000 as a part of the settlement.
Blake Allen had made several comments to classmates about the biological man in the female locker room, which the district deemed bullying and “harassment on the basis of gender identity,” the lawsuit alleged. As a part of the original settlement, Blake Allen’s suspension and bullying report have been wiped from her record.
Throughout the country, school districts have been debating whether to separate bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams on the basis of biological sex or gender identity; in Idaho, a school board axed a policy that would allow the use of bathrooms and locker rooms on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex, after backlash from the community. California high school students protested a state law that permits students to use bathrooms on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.
Orange Southwest School District and Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm that represented Allen, did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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