Virginia Teacher Sues School Board After Being Fired for Calling a Transgender Student the Wrong Pronoun
Virginia teacher Peter Vlaming has filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages from the West Point School Board in West Point, Virginia after he was fired last year for not calling a transgender student by their preferred pronoun.
Vlaming is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The organization believes that the school board violated Vlaming’s rights under the Virginia Constitution and commonwealth law, and breached his contract.
“Peter went out of his way to accommodate this student as he does all his students; his school fired him because he wouldn’t contradict his core beliefs,” ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton said.
“The school board didn’t care how well Peter treated this student. It was on a crusade to compel conformity. He works hard to make his students feel welcomed. In his French class, he always calls his students by the name they choose. He even used the student’s preferred masculine name and was willing to avoid using pronouns in the student’s presence. He just didn’t want to be forced to use a pronoun that offends his conscience. That’s entirely reasonable, and it’s his constitutionally protected right. Tolerance, after all, is a two-way street,” Dalton added.
Vreeland was fired by the school board late last year, in a case that received widespread attention:
News outlets report that the West Point School Board voted unanimously Thursday to dismiss Peter Vlaming after a four-hour hearing that drew an overflow crowd. The school system said in a statement that Vlaming was fired for insubordination.
Over the summer, the ninth-grade student’s family informed the school system of the student’s gender transition to male. The student wasn’t involved in Thursday’s hearing.
It’s not suggested that the 47-year-old West Point High School French teacher deliberately referred to the student using female pronouns in the student’s presence, but in conversations with others.
Witnesses described a “slip-up” when the student was about to run into a wall and Vlaming told others to stop “her.” When discussing the incident with administrators, Vlaming made it clear he would not use male pronouns, a stance that led to his suspension referral for disciplinary action.
“I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening,” said West Point High Principal Jonathan Hochman, who testified that he told Vlaming to use male pronouns in accordance with the student’s wishes.
Vlaming told superiors that his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for the student. Vlaming said he had the student in class the year before when the student identified as female.
Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, says his client offered to use the student’s name and to avoid feminine pronouns, but Voyles says the school was unwilling to accept the compromise.
“That discrimination then leads to creating a hostile learning environment. And the student had expressed that. The parent had expressed that,” said West Point schools Superintendent Laura Abel. “They felt disrespected.”
Vlaming is pushing back against an educational establishment that is happy to enforce LGBT dogma, even if it results in children being pumped with drugs and urged to mutilate their genitals. Big League Politics will continue to provide updates on the lawsuit as it proceeds through the courts.