Virginia High School Teacher Faces Possible Termination after Declining to Use Transgender Student’s Preferred Pronouns

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Virginia High School Teacher Faces Possible Termination after Declining to Use Transgender Student’s Preferred Pronouns



A Virginia teacher was put on administrative leave after using feminine pronouns while addressing a student who was born female, but chooses to identify as male.


Peter Vlaming, the teacher in question, stated: “I won’t use male pronouns with a female student that now identifies as a male though I did agree to use the new masculine name but avoid female pronouns.”


“Administration is requiring that I use masculine pronouns in any and every context at school. I was informed that any further instances of using female pronouns would be grounds for termination.”


Vlaming, who teaches French at West Point High School, is currently on paid administrative leave awaiting a public hearing by the school board that’s set to take place later in the week.


An online petition was created by those in support of the teacher requesting that he not be fired, and received over 1,100 signatures by Wednesday morning.


ABC news affiliate WRIC in Richmond contacted a few of Vlaming’s students regarding the controversy. One of the students that spoke with the news outlet declared that he was “outraged” over the teacher possibly facing termination.


“He’s a really nice guy, he wanted to do everything about his students. He really does care about his students,” the student stated. “The thing he will not do is change his ways of thoughts and believing in things just to conform to someone else’s ideologies.”


According to Abel Laura, superintendent of West Point Public Schools, because the situation is “a personal issue” the school district is “unable to provide specific information due to employee and student confidentiality.”


“Mr. Vlaming has requested a public hearing and details regarding our recommendations will become public at that hearing,” stated Laura.


“Until that time, it is important that we not only ensure the integrity of our employment process but also meet our responsibilities regarding safeguarding student confidentiality.”


Vlaming, however, is not the first teacher who has found himself in a similar situation in recent times.


Last month, a lawsuit was filed by an evangelical professor against Shawnee State University in Ohio, where he was employed. In the lawsuit, the professor claimed that he was being forced to use feminine pronouns for a student who identified as transgender.


In the lawsuit against Shawnee State University, Professor Nicholas Meriwether asserted that he offered to use the first or last name of a male-born student who now chooses to identify as female. The settlement, however, was denied.

The Christian Post reports that after an investigation was carried out, the university charged him, noting that he “effectively created a hostile environment” for the trans student. A written warning was placed in Meriwether’s personnel file by university officials, which cautioned that “further corrective actions” would be taken if he failed to comply.


Instead, the university charged him following an investigation, saying he “effectively created a hostile environment” for the student. University officials placed a written warning in his personnel file, and warned of “further corrective actions” if he failed to comply. 


Photo courtesy: Peter Hershey/Unsplash 

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