Teacher faces sack for call­ing trans boy a girl

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Jonathan Pe­tre ED­U­CA­TION CORRESPONDENT

A TEACHER has been sus­pended and could face the sack af­ter he ‘ac­ci­den­tally’ called a trans­gen­der pupil a ‘girl’ in class.

Joshua Sut­cliffe, 27, who teaches maths at a state sec­ondary in Ox­ford­shire, said, ‘Well done, girls’ to the teenager and a friend when he spot­ted them work­ing hard.

He apol­o­gised when cor­rected by the pupil, who iden­ti­fies as be­ing male, but six weeks later he was sus­pended from teach­ing af­ter the pupil’s mother lodged a com­plaint.

Fol­low­ing a probe, he has been sum­moned to a for­mal dis­ci­plinary hear­ing this week to face mis­con­duct charges for ‘mis­gen­der­ing’.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments seen by The Mail on Sun­day, he also faces claims that he breached equal­ity poli­cies by re­fer­ring to the pupil by name rather than as ‘he’ or ‘him’.

The £30,000-a-year teacher said he was ‘dis­traught’ and had been re­duced to tears as teach­ing was his life, and he branded the ac­tions of the school ‘po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone mad’.

Mr Sut­cliffe said he had no in­struc­tions about how to ad­dress the stu­dent, but along with other staff de­cided to use the pupil’s cho­sen first name. But he ad­mit­ted that as a Chris­tian he avoided us­ing male pro­nouns such as ‘he’ and ‘him’.

He be­lieved this was con­sis­tent with the school’s code of con­duct and equal­ity poli­cies to show re­spect and tol­er­ance.

He thought no more about the in­ci­dent un­til the week be­fore last when, af­ter a par­ents’ evening, he was un­ex­pect­edly called to the head’s of­fice to be told there had been a ‘trans­gen­der com­plaint’ against him and that he was sus­pended while it was in­ves­ti­gated. He was told to come to the school and sit in the staff room pre­par­ing work, but was not al­lowed to dis­cuss the mat­ter with col­leagues. He later dis­cov­ered the pupil’s fam­ily claimed he un­fairly gave the pupil a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of de­ten­tions for poor be­hav­iour – a claim not up­held by the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It is un­der­stood that the fam­ily’s main con­cern was that Mr Sut­cliffe was pick­ing on their child and they would not have com­plained about ‘mis­gen­der­ing’ on its own as they are sup­port­ers of free speech.

Doc­u­ments seen by The Mail on Sun­day show the in­ves­ti­ga­tion also heard un­cor­rob­o­rated claims that Mr Sut­cliffe had made sev­eral other ref­er­ences to the pupil as a ‘girl’ and had in­ap­pro­pri­ately dis­cussed re­li­gious is­sues in his maths lessons, which he de­nies.

Mr Sut­cliffe, a pas­tor at an evan­gel­i­cal church in Ox­ford, also said that sev­eral years ago he had started a lunchtime Bi­ble club.

But the club was shut down af­ter he an­swered a pupil’s question on mar­riage by say­ing the Bi­ble de­scribed it as be­ing be­tween a man and a wo­man, prompt­ing a com­plaint about ho­mo­pho­bia. An­drea

‘Teach­ers are be­ing si­lenced or pun­ished’

Wil­liams of the Chris­tian Le­gal Cen­tre, which is sup­port­ing Mr Sut­cliffe, said: ‘This is one of a large num­ber of cases we are en­coun­ter­ing where teach­ers are find­ing them­selves si­lenced or pun­ished if they refuse to fall in line with the current trans­gen­der fad.’

For­mer Tory party chair­man Lord Teb­bit said: ‘It seems to me this is a mad world when some­one is dis­ci­plined for stat­ing a bi­o­log­i­cal fact.’

The school’s head would not com­ment on staff dis­ci­plinary mat­ters.

PROBE: Teacher Joshua Sut­cliffe

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