Christian teacher who 'misgendered' student banned from profession
"I am devastated by the panel’s ruling and will appeal," the teacher said.
Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe is banned from teaching in England after he accidentally misgendered a student and was honest about his thoughts on gay marriage when a student asked.
The United Kingdom's Teaching Regulation Authority, which regulates teaching and deals with serious misconduct, found that Sutcliffe, a 33-year-old former math teacher at a public secondary school in Oxford, failed to treat a student with "dignity and respect" by "misgendering" a biologically female student who identified as male, the Christian Legal Centre, which has been representing Sutcliffe, said Tuesday.
The incident occurred when he praised a group of students with the phrase, "well done, girls." He said it was accidental and he immediately apologized, according to The Telegraph.
The regulatory body also stated that Sutcliffe "failed to uphold Pupil A’s dignity and respect and failed to safeguard Pupil A’s wellbeing," with Pupil A referring to the transgender student.
Given Sutcliffe's admission that he failed to use the student's preferred pronoun, the panel found that "it was more probable than not that Mr. Sutcliffe had failed to use Pupil A's preferred pronoun in the classroom during teaching on one or more occasions."
"I am devastated by the panel’s ruling and will appeal," Sutcliffe said. "Based on this ruling, every teacher is at risk if they share their beliefs and views in the classroom. If a teacher had shown or recommended a video from a liberal YouTube platform, would they have been treated as I have?"
The panel also found that Sutcliffe's honesty about his views on gay marriage did not constitute failing to safeguard students. However, the panel criticized Sutcliffe and sided with a student who said he showed a PragerU video titled "Make Men Masculine Again" even though the teacher denied the claim.
By allegedly showing the video, Sutcliffe "failed to provide a balanced view or an opportunity for pupils to discuss any alternative views" and he "failed to take a good account of potential negative impact on pupils who did not agree with all the claims of the views of masculinity portrayed in the video," the panel said.
Sutcliffe says he thinks he is being targeted for his religious beliefs.
"Mathematics has always been a great joy of mine; my teaching record is exemplary, and I was always respectful to everyone. From the beginning, however, this case has not been about my ability to teach but about me being a Christian and believing in the gospel and the Lordship of Jesus Christ," he said.
The panel ruled that Sutcliffe is "prohibited from teaching indefinitely" but he can appeal the ruling in 2025.