Virginia’s West Point School Board has reached a unanimous decision to terminate a Virginia educator who refused to call a transgender student “he” or “him” for religious reasons.
West Point High School French teacher, Peter Vlaming, was fired for failure to comply with school board policies regarding transgender students. Vlaming used the student’s male name, but avoided pronouns altogether.
According to ABC News, an online petition dedicated to reinstating Vlaming quotes him as saying, ““I won’t use male pronouns with a female student that now identifies as a male though I did agree to use the new masculine name but avoid female pronouns.”
However, PBS reports at least one instance of misgendering the student:
Witnesses described a “slip-up” 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.
Furthermore, the school’s principal, Jonathan Hochman, testified at a public hearing that Vlaming once said that he missed “the female version of the student.”
The decision to terminate Vlaming came after a four-hour hearing drew a crowd that exceeded the room’s capacity.
Vlaming maintains his solution was one of “mutual tolerance,” and it’s the school board that’s guilty of intolerance:
Vlaming said he loves and respects all his students but when a solution he tried to reach based on “mutual tolerance” was rejected, he was at risk of losing his job for having views held by “most of the world for most of human history.”
“That is not tolerance,” Vlaming said. “That is coercion.”
On December 7, the day after the hearing, 100 West Point middle and high school students staged a walkout in support of Vlaming, according to the Virginia Gazette.