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Teacher Fired for Refusing to Call Transgender Student by Preferred Pronoun Takes Case to VA Supreme Court

09-05-2021
Peter Vlaming
Peter Vlaming was fired because the school board says he used the wrong pronoun for a transgender student.

A Virginia school teacher, who was fired for refusing to refer to a female student with male pronouns, appealed his case to the Supreme Court Friday after it was dismissed by a Circuit Court.

Peter Vlaming taught French at West Point High School for nearly ten years. He was placed on administrative leave in 2018 after he objected to calling a ninth-grade transgender student, who had been born female, by the student's new preferred pronoun, "he."

In Dec. 2019, the school board unanimously voted to fire the teacher. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represent Vlaming and insist that no one should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job.

"Peter has every right to fight this unlawful decision by the school board, and we will be defending him every step of the way," said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. "Peter went above and beyond to treat this student with respect, including using the student's preferred masculine name and avoiding pronoun usage in the student's presence."

Langhofer added, "This was never about anything Peter said—or didn't say—it is about a school demanding total conformity in utter disregard of Peter's efforts and his freedoms under Virginia law."

Vlaming is suing the school board for violating his rights under the Virginia Constitution and commonwealth law.

CBN News previously reported that students at the school were outraged over his dismissal. Nearly 150 students showed their support for the beloved teacher by participating in a walkout.

He said the loss of employment has not been easy for his family.

A GoFundMe was set up for Vlaming and his family and so far the effort has raised $58,524 of its $75,000 goal.

Ultimately, Vlaming says his faith gives him the strength he needs to keep going.

"There's bound to be opposition to living for God," he explained. "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."

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