A French teacher at a high school in Virginia, USA, has been fired for not using a student’s preferred pronouns, which he reportedly claimed was a “slip of the tongue.”
It came after a superintendent at the school recommended that Vlaming got the sack for his conduct, which included telling a trans male student “don’t let her walk into that wall.”
Teacher uses students’ affirmed name, but not preferred pronouns
Responding to the decision, Vlaming told NBC: “Miracles can happen, but I was prepared that this might be the outcome.”
Vlaming said he would use students’ chosen names but not their preferred pronouns.
“I’m totally happy to use the new name,” he said at the hearing.
“I’m happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I’m not here to provoke… but I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscious and faith.”
Teacher refuses to obey school’s instruction to use preferred pronouns
He was sent a disciplinary letter from the school regarding his conduct, and reportedly refused to comply with its demand for him to use students’ preferred pronouns.
“The policy speaks not one word about pronoun usage,” said Shawn Voyles, Vlaming’s attorney, reports NBC’s local affiliate.
“I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscious and faith.”
—sacked teacher Peter Vlaming
“There is absolutely nothing in the policy, as the witnesses admitted from the school division, that speaks to that issue. Which makes that policy so problematic that it leaves it up to the individual for interpretation.”
Superintendent Laura Abel described Vlaming’s actions as “discriminatory” at the hearing.
It’s not the first time an academic has refused to use students’ preferred pronouns in the US.
In November, a Shawnee State University professor announced he was suing his workplace over his opposition to a policy that requires him to refer to students by their preferred pronouns.
Student Alena Bruening filed a complaint against the Shawnee State University academic earlier this year after he objected to calling her “miss” or “she.”
He instead offered to refer to Bruening by her first name.