Board fires teacher in trans­gen­der dis­pute

He cites Chris­tian faith in re­fusal to use male pro­nouns for stu­dent

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation -

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.

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