News

Education

Virginia Teacher Fired after Refusing to Call Trans Student by Preferred Pronoun

(Mike Blake/Reuters)

A Virginia high-school teacher was fired on Thursday after refusing to address a transgender student by the student’s preferred pronoun.

The school board of the West Point Consolidated School District unanimously approved the district superintendent’s recommendation to let French teacher Peter Vlaming go from West Point High School. He had previously been suspended with pay since October 31.

“The School Board has policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity,” said Superintendent Laura Abel. “As detailed during the course of the public hearing, Mr. Vlaming was recommended for termination due to his insubordination and repeated refusal to comply with directives made to him by multiple WPPS administrators. As superintendent, it is my responsibility to enforce board policy, and due to Mr. Vlaming’s non-compliance I therefore recommended termination.”

“My religious faith dictates that I am to love and respect everyone, whether I agree with them or not. Because we are all made in God’s image,” Vlaming said during Thursday’s public hearing. “I am also aware of, and agree with, speech limits that are placed on public-school teachers concerning matters of religious faith. I represent the state in my role as a public-school teacher and therefore speak with a certain authority. That authority is not to be used to promote any one specific worldview, and I don’t. However, we are here today because a specific worldview is being imposed upon me.”

Other students said the student in question was born female and now identifies as male.

“I won’t use male pronouns with a female student that now identifies as a male though I did agree to use the new masculine name but avoid female pronouns,” an online petition supporting Vlaming quotes him as saying. “Administration is requiring that I use masculine pronouns in any and every context at school.”

Vlaming’s lawyer called the school’s requirement “unconstitutional compelled speech.”

“Public schools have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold. This isn’t just about a pronoun; this is about forcing someone to endorse an ideology under threat of losing his job,” said attorney Shawn A. Voyles. “My client has always respected this student’s rights and continues to do so; he simply asked that his rights be respected as well. Unfortunately, the school board refused to consider any solutions that would respect the freedoms of everyone involved.”

Vlaming and his lawyer are evaluating his legal options, Voyles said.

Most Popular

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More