PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS IN SCHOOL–TEACHER FIRED FOR REFUSING TO USE “TRANSGENDER” STUDENT’S NEW PRONOUNS
Father, please bring sanity back into our school systems. Strengthen Christian teachers in the public schools and at colleges in universities. Anoint Christian students with a loving, truthful boldness as they interact with peers who are confused about their essential identities. Give them words and wisdom straight from the Holy Spirit.
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The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. (Pr 28:1)
A Virginia high school teacher was fired Thursday for refusing to use a transgender student’s new pronouns, a case believed to be the first of its kind in the state.
After a four-hour hearing, the West Point School Board voted 5-0 to terminate Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School who resisted administrators’ orders to use male pronouns to refer to a ninth-grade student who had undergone a gender transition. The board met in closed session for nearly an hour before the vote.
Like a similar transgender rights case in nearby Gloucester County that eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Vlaming’s situation could present a novel legal case as public bodies continue to grapple with how to reconcile anti-discrimination policies with the rights of religious employees.
The high school in West Point, a town in King William County about an hour east of Richmond, has about 265 students.
Vlaming, 47, who had taught at the school for almost seven years after spending more than a decade in France, told his superiors his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for a student he saw as female….
The student’s family informed the school system of the transition over the summer. Vlaming said he had the student in class the year before when the student identified as female.
Administrators sided with the boy, telling Vlaming he could not treat his transgender pupil differently than he treats others….
School administrators recommended that Vlaming be fired, saying he had violated the school system’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies.
“Does this board expect its employees to follow its policies or not?” said attorney Stacy Haney, who was representing the school district….
Even as a public employee, Voyles said, Vlaming has constitutional rights of his own….
Speaking in his own defense, Vlaming said he loves and respects all his students and had tried to reach a solution based on “mutual tolerance.” That effort was rejected, he said, putting him at risk of losing his job for having views held by “most of the world for most of human history.”
“That is not tolerance,” Vlaming said. “That is coercion.”…
The proceeding also drew the attention of Equality Virginia, an LGBTQ-rights group that said the situation reveals the need for “statewide guidance” that will protect all students from discrimination at school….
“I have to research how we would do that, what that would entail,” Vlaming said. “I do think it’s a serious question of First Amendment rights.”…
In Gloucester, a dispute between the School Board and transgender student Gavin Grimm over bathroom access rose all the way to the Supreme Court. That case lost momentum when Grimm graduated from high school, but had potential to set a nationwide precedent on a major transgender rights issue.
Vlaming’s case could work in the opposite direction, offering enterprising attorneys a chance to challenge a nondiscrimination policy Vlaming’s lawyer called “unconstitutionally vague.” (Excerpts from Graham Moomaw article for the Richmond Times-Dispatch)
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