Musk, who owns Twitter, called the Orange Southwest School District Board’s decision to punish Travis Allen and Blake Allen “incredibly unjust” as he responded to a tweet from Riley Gaines, an outspoken advocate for fairness in women’s sports who swam against a biologically male athlete at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
“So happy for volleyball player and friend, Blake Allen,” Gaines said, posting a screenshot of The Daily Signal’s report on the Allens. “For feeling uneasy undressing next to a boy in her locker room, she was suspended from school and her dad lost his job. They told her she would only be let back in if she publicly apologized for her feelings of discomfort.”
Travis Allen had been a middle school soccer coach in Orange Southwest School District Board district until he spoke up about his daughter having to share a locker room with a biological male.
“Its 2023 and legal action is necessary to uphold the ability for girls to give consent when it comes to disrobing in front of/being exposed to the opposite sex,” Gaines added.
Gaines, a 12-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion, first shared her story with The Daily Wire after she tied with Thomas in the 200 freestyle in March 2022 at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships. Despite harassment, threats, and violence, she has continued to speak out and has become a prominent national advocate.
The Daily Signal reported Thursday that the Allen family had reached a settlement with the school district requiring the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust to pay $125,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees and costs to the Allen family.
Under the settlement, the district will reinstate Travis Allen as middle school soccer coach and will scrub any records of discipline against Travis Allen and his daughter Blake from school records.
Further, the settlement requires the Orange Southwest School District Board and school officials named in the Allens’ lawsuit to remove any content posted online by the school related to the locker room business as well as from the bulletin board or boards at Randolph Union Middle/High School displaying “love and support” messages to the trans-identifying student.
The Alliance Defending Freedom hailed the settlement as a huge win for the Allen family.
“The settlement of Blake and Travis Allen’s case is a resounding victory for freedom of speech,” Phil Sechler, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal on Thursday.
“Calling a male a male shouldn’t have cost Travis his job and gotten Blake kicked out of school,” he added. “We are very glad that the school agreed to do the right thing by giving Travis his coaching job back and dropping the discipline against Blake. Everyone has the right to speak freely, and we are grateful that this settlement further protects that right.”
In their lawsuit filed in October, the Allens said that they “were punished for expressing their view on a matter of profound public concern: whether a teenage male who ‘identifies’ as female should be permitted to change in a girls’ locker room, regardless of the discomfort experienced by the girls in that room.”
“In objecting to a male being in the room while the girls are changing, Travis and Blake each made comments underscoring that the trans-identifying student is in fact a male, including by using male pronouns,” said the lawsuit, details of which were first obtained by The Daily Signal. “Indeed, their view of the student’s maleness was foundational to their opinions on appropriate use of the locker room.”
“Yet, their remarks were too much for Defendants’ transgender orthodoxy—Travis was deemed to have ‘misgendered’ the student, while Blake was found guilty of ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying’—so Defendants disciplined both of them.”
The Daily Signal first reported that Travis Allen had been suspended without pay from his job as the Randolph Union Middle School girls soccer coach for calling the trans-identifying student a male. His suspension followed a Daily Signal video and report highlighting Blake’s discomfort at a biological male using her locker room while she was changing. Jessica Allen, Blake’s mother, also spoke out in the video.
Several of Blake’s fellow female students who spoke with The Daily Signal said they asked the student to leave, but said the student did not immediately do so. The girls said that the student stood in the corner and looked at them while they were changing, causing them to feel uncomfortable.
Orange Southwest School District Board did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal.
Musk also waded into a transgender debate earlier this week, when he took steps to allow The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh’s documentary, “What is a Woman?” to be distributed on Twitter. Jeremy Boreing, co-CEO of The Daily Wire, tweeted Thursday, “Twitter canceled a deal with @realdailywire to premiere What is a Woman? for free on the platform because of two instances of ‘misgendering,'” referring to the practice of calling a person by his or her sex instead of the new adopted gender identity.
Subsequently, Musk tweeted, “This was a mistake by many people at Twitter. It is definitely allowed.” Musk also later tweeted a recommendation for the movie, saying, “Every parent should watch this.”
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