Teacher faces sack for calling trans boy a girl
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