Teacher suspended for calling trans boy ‘girl’
A teacher has been suspended after claims that he repeatedly misgendered a trans boy in his class.
Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who teaches at a state school in Oxford, apologised for referring to a boy in his class as “girl”, but defended his reluctance to use male pronouns.
He admits that he said “well done girls” to the trans boy and his friend when he saw them working.
Sutcliffe says he apologised, but has also described an investigation into the incident as “political correctness gone mad” and accuses the school of having a “liberal Leftish agenda”.
He also admitted during an investigation that his private belief was that he was not wrong to refer to someone assigned female at birth using female pronouns, even if they have transitioned.
After the pupil’s parents lodged a formal complaint, Sutcliffe was suspended.
The complaint also alleges that Sutcliffe had misgendered the boy on several other occasions, and also accuses him of inappropriately raising religious issues in his maths lessons.
Sutcliffe apologised for the incident, but has also admitted that he does not like to use male pronouns to describe the boy because of his Christian faith.
The Mail reports that the main concern of the parents was that Sutcliffe was picking on their son, and that they would not have lodged a complaint over one incident of misgendering.
The parents also complained that Sutcliffe had given a disproportionate number of detentions to the boy for bad behaviour.
Sutcliffe has now been summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing in the coming week.
He says he is “distraught”, and that he had been reduced to tears over the incident.
The teacher also says the school’s actions are “political correctness gone mad”, despite admitting his reluctance to use male pronouns to describe the student.
The Mail report says Sutcliffe had “no official instructions about how to address the student”.
He claims he used the student’s first name, which is “consistend with the school’s code of conduct and equality policies to show respect and tolerance”, but also admits referring to the boy as “girl”.
Despite being asked by the school not to discuss the case with colleagues while the investigation was ongoing, Sutcliffe spoke to the Mail.
He said: “I was absolutely shocked to be told by the head that I was under investigation. I didn’t know what was happening. It was surreal, Kafkaesque.
“I said it was only one incident for which I had apologised, but he insisted the investigation would go ahead.
“I had always tried to respect the pupil and keep a professional attitude as well as my integrity, but it seemed to me that the school was trying to force me to adhere to its liberal, Leftish agenda.”
He added: “I have never been trained to deal with this sort of thing. I felt completely out of my depth and intimidated.”
But the teacher, also a pastor at an Evangelical church, also admits raising religious issues like the Reformation in his tutor class.
In the past, he also started a Bible club during lunchtimes at the same school, but he had been accused of homophobia after stating that the Bible defines marriage as being “between a man and a woman”.
The investigation had concluded that misgendering the boy demonstrates “avoidance of using gendered pronouns contravenes the school’s code of conduct with regard to demonstrating an awareness of sexual and cultural diversity of students and use of insensitive comments towards young people” as well as “the use of religious comments in maths lessons demonstrates a failure to comply with school policies.”
The investigation had also concluded that the complaint constituted misconduct, and that it should be dealt with through the disciplinary process.
Sutcliffe commented: “I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of Christians being marginalised in the public square, and unpopular beliefs silenced.
“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs, I recognise my responsibility as a teacher and Christian to treat each of my pupils with respect.
“I have balanced these factors by using the pupil’s chosen name, and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl’, I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.”
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Sutcliffe is also being defended by Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the anti-gay Christian Legal Centre.
Williams said: “This is one of a large number of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.”
He was also defended by former Tory Party chairman Lord Tebbit, who said: “It seems to me this is a mad world when someone is disciplined for stating a biological fact.”
A few months ago, Lord Tebbit insisted it was “perfectly sensible” to think gay acts are sinful.
The peer has also argued against LGBT equality because he was worried about a gay royal becoming Queen or King.
Lord Tebbit most recently claimed that air pollution was making people transgender.