A high school teacher was fired after school officials said the teacher refused to call a transgender student by the student’s preferred pronoun.
Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia was put on administrative leave on Oct. 31 for not using the favored pronoun the female-to-male student wants to identify as.
The School Board in West Point, Virginia voted on Thursday to terminate the teacher stating the teacher violated board policies which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The student and student’s parents met with Vlaming several times to explain their concerns, according to the Virginian-Pilot. Vlaming said religious reasons barred him from referring to the student as male. The teacher shared his views with the parents for which he agreed to use the student’s male name but said he would not use the pronouns of “he,” “him,” “she” or “her” when referring to the transgender student.
An episode occurred where the student was wearing virtual reality goggles and almost walked into a wall, and Vlaming shouted: “don’t let her run into the wall.” The parents then said it was unhealthy for their child to stay in Vlaming’s class, according to the school district’s attorney Stacy Haney.
Vlaming’s attorney Shawn Voyles said Thursday that he and Vlaming will “look at his options,” including filing an appeal in court. Vlaming’s attorney also called the school’s policies “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.