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Christian school leaves girls basketball tournament after refusing to face trans player

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A girls high school basketball team in Vermont withdrew from a state tournament after refusing to play against another team that had a transgender player on its roster.

The Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) girls basketball team was supposed to play a first-round game against Long Trail School last Tuesday night. But because of its unwillingness to suit up against a team with a biologically male player, the school forfeited, and thus had to withdrawal from the year-end tournament.

"We withdrew from the tournament because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players," MVCS Head of School Vicky Fogg told The National Desk in a statement. "Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general."

TND reached out to Long Trail Athletic Director John Schneble for comment, but did not hear back prior to publication. If a response is received this story will be updated.

There is no law in Vermont prohibiting transgender female students from playing on girls sports teams.

The Vermont Principals' Association (VPA), which is the state's governing body for school sport's, says students can play on the team that matches their gender identity used at school, according to the VTDigger.

"I have received calls (from schools) asking for best practices and how to go forward knowing they were going to play a team with a transgender female on it," Lauren Thomas, assistant executive director for the VPA, told Valley News. "We just supported our stance and our best practices through our inclusivity statement."

"Proactive talk tracks for transgender athletes," is among the "diversity, equity and inclusion" standards laid about by the VPA on its webpage discussing the organization's mission and goals.

Earlier this year, MVCS and another religiously affiliated school told the Vermont Board of Education in a request for public funding that it has a constitutional right to make decisions that other non-religiously affiliated schools that receive public funding cannot.

"The Mid Vermont Christian School is signing this form with the understanding that it must be read consistent with existing law and the U.S. and Vermont Constitutions," the January funding application reads. "As a religious organization, the school has a statutory and constitutional right to make decisions based on its religious beliefs, including hiring and disciplining employees, associating with others, and in its admissions, conduct and operations policies and procedures."

Critics across the country have feared new federal anti-discrimination laws seeking to allow transgender athletes to play on sports teams that do not correspond with their gender assigned at birth could "destroy women's sports."

READ MORE: "Critic fears Biden Title IX changes will 'destroy women's sports'"

In response to the federal government's proposed Title IX rule changes, numerous states, including South Carolina and Louisiana, have enacted laws prohibiting trans athletes from playing on sports teams that do not correspond with their gender assigned at birth.

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