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VA Teacher Sues School After Being Fired for Refusing to Call Transgender Student a 'He'

10-01-2019
Peter Vlaming
Peter Vlaming was fired because the school board says he used the wrong pronoun for a transgender student.

A Virginia teacher is suing his former employer for breach of contract and violating his constitutional rights.

CBN News previously reported that Peter Vlaming was a French teacher at West Point High School but was placed on administrative leave in October 2018 after he refused to violate his Christian beliefs.

Vlaming objected to calling a ninth-grade transgender student, who had been born female, by the student's new preferred pronoun, "he."

"I was told that not only would I pronounce masculine pronouns when referring to the student when students were present, but that I would do so even when students weren't present," Vlaming said. 
 
"I was given a written ultimatum that insisted that I use masculine pronouns for the student and that I would be fired if they deemed that I was avoiding the use of masculine pronouns."

A four-hour hearing was also held in December, where the West Point Public School Board unanimously voted to fire Vlaming.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Vlaming after he filed suit on September 30.

"Peter went out of his way to accommodate this student as he does all his students; his school fired him because he wouldn't contradict his core beliefs," said ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton. "The school board didn't care how well Peter treated this student. It was on a crusade to compel conformity. He works hard to make his students feel welcomed."

A GoFundMe has been set up for Vlaming and his family. So far, the effort has raised more than $50,000 of their $55,000 goal.

But Vlaming said his faith is giving him the strength he needs.

"There's bound to be opposition to living for God. I was brought to a point where I had to make a decision that cost something. And when that happens it's an opportunity to grow in your faith. It's an opportunity to show the Lord, yes, I am for you. Yes, I trust you."

ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said, "This isn't just about a pronoun, it's about what that pronoun means. This was never about anything Peter said or did; only about what the school was demanding he say. Nobody should be forced to contradict his core beliefs just to keep a job."

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