Virginia Supreme Court hearing case of teacher fired for not using trans pronouns

WEST POINT, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court of  Virginia is hearing the case of a teacher who was fired after he refused to call a girl a boy.

Peter Vlaming’s lawyers argue that “he was fired for something he couldn’t say.”

Vlaming had been a French teacher at Virginia’s West Point High School for seven years when he was fired in late 2018; he had refused to refer to a female student as a boy. 

Following the 2018 summer recess, one of Vlaming’s female students had “transitioned” to living as a boy and desired to be referred to as one. While Vlaming used the child’s chosen male name to refer to her, he avoided using male pronouns when addressing the student. He told his principal that he “couldn’t in good conscience pronounce masculine pronouns to refer to a girl,” saying his Christian faith which prevented him from doing so.

According to the Daily Signal, Vlaming accidentally called the student “she” in front of the class. The same day that the student complained, the teacher was summoned to the principal’s office and placed on administrative leave. 

In October 2018 the school board voted unanimously to fire Vlaming despite an outpouring of support for him from parents and students.

Some months later, in 2019, Vlaming filed a $1 million lawsuit against certain West Point officials in King William County, arguing that his free speech and conscience rights had been violated, and that there had been attempts made on him to violate his religious beliefs. 

However, following a dismissal of his case by the Virginia Circuit Court, Vlaming requested the state’s Supreme Court to hear his case in September 2021. The court agreed to this in March of this year.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel – who is representing Vlaming – argued that the school board had violated Vlaming’s rights protected under the state constitution.  

“As a teacher, Peter was passionate about the subject he taught, he was well-liked by his students, and he did his best to accommodate their needs and requests,” said Schandevel. 

But Peter could not in good conscience speak messages that he doesn’t believe to be true. We hope the Virginia Supreme Court will agree that by firing him for those beliefs, the school board violated Peter’s rights under the Virginia Constitution and state law.

Vlaming’s case is also being supported by the Virginia Attorney General, along with physicians, feminists, legal scholars, and a variety of organizations, who all filed briefs with the state’s highest court in the teacher’s support.

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