Board fires teacher in transgender dispute
He cites Christian faith in refusal to use male pronouns for student
WEST POINT, Va. — A Virginia high school teacher who refused to use a transgender student’s new pronouns has been fired.
News outlets reported that the West Point School Board voted unanimously Thursday to dismiss Peter Vlaming after a fourhour hearing that drew an overflow crowd. The school system said in a statement that Vlaming was fired for insubordination.
Over the summer, the ninthgrade 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 47yearold West Point High School French teacher deliberately referred to the student us ing female pronouns in the student’s presence, but in conversations with others.
Witnesses described a “slipup” 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.