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Teacher sues school district after being fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns

School officials gave Christian teacher an ultimatum: Refer to student as male or be dismissed.

Updated: August 20, 2020 - 3:23pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Virginia teacher fired for refusing to use the requested pronouns of a transgender-identifying student is taking his school district to court over the dismissal, claiming that U.S. law protects his decision. 

Peter Vlaming was a history and French professor at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia, in 2018 when a female student of his announced a transition to a male identity and requested that her instructors refer to her using male pronouns.

Vlaming refused to do so, though he claims he initially struck an amicable compromise with the student in question. Yet school leadership eventually told him that he would be required to use male pronouns to refer to the student, in and out of her presence.

The school finally told him that if he used female pronouns to refer to the student – or even if the district suspected he was using her name to avoid referring to her pronouns altogether – he would be terminated. 

Vlaming, who is Christian, refused to abide by those terms, leading to his firing, The Daily Signal reports. 

The instructor is suing the West Point Public Schools system over the firing, with the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom representing him. The suit argues that Supreme Court precedent establishes Vlaming's right not to use transgender pronouns.

"It has indeed come to this," he told the Signal.