Refusal to call a 'her' a 'him' lands teacher in hot water

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Chris Woodward (

gender confusion 2An educator in Virginia was fired for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred gender pronouns – and now, some people think the teacher's case is bound for court.

Peter Vlaming taught French at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia. That is until he was put on paid administrative leave on October 31 for not using a student's preferred identity pronoun. The student in question is a biological female who wants to be identified as a male.

Last week, the school board for West Point Public High Schools voted unanimously to approve the termination of Vlaming. The teacher read from a prepared statement during a public hearing last week:

"My religious faith dictates that I'm to love and respect everyone, whether I agree with them or not, because we're all made in God's image. I am also aware of, and agree, with speech limits that are placed on public school teachers, concerning matters of religious faith. I represent the state in my role as a public school teacher and therefore speak with a certain authority. That authority is not to be used to promote any one specific worldview, and I don't. However, we are here today because a specific worldview is being imposed upon me."

Speaking about this on American Family Radio, Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation (based in Virginia) said Vleming is a beloved teacher with nothing on his record.

"He's simply a teacher who was trying to both respect the student and the student's desires and also abide by his deeply held religious beliefs, that this was something that he needed to hold to," Cobb told radio host Sandy Rios.


"So he attempted to strike what I would think would be a very appropriate balance, which is to call a student by their preferred name, but not use pronouns that seem to indicate a specific gender."

Vlaming had ten days to appeal the decision by the school board. His attorney tells 8News they're considering all their options should the decision not be reversed.

"It's really an amazing story," said Cobb, "and I suspect we will in fact see this go through court because the legal ground is so shaky is a favorable word to use."

Cobb went on to say that the school system was using a rescinded policy from the Obama administration as its reasoning for siding with the student instead of Vlaming.

An online petition in support of Vlaming has garnered more than 2,700 signatures; the goal is 3,000. According to that petition, Vlaming mistakenly referred to the student as "her" on two occasions during this school year – and that the previous two years, the student had identified as a female, perhaps accounting for the teacher's "slip up."


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college campus night sceneAn all-women’s college in Missouri will be accepting biological men students proclaiming themselves to be “transgender,” women, but will not accept students born as women who identify as men.