Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School in West Point, Va. was fired for violating the school’s nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies. ” the school’s board wrote in a statement. “The School Board has adopted policies and tonight we upheld these policies.”
Vlaming claimed that his religion prevented him from identifying the boy by his preferred pronoun. Vlaming did agree to use the student’s male name.
A petition, which has more than 2,000 signatures, was launched in support of Vlaming and students held a walkout and protest at the school in response to Vlaming’s firing. “The school board is trying to force the teacher to conform to their ideologies with the threat of removal from the school,” Forrest Rohde, a junior who organized the walkout.
Vlaming said in the petition, “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.”
James Millner, the president of Virginia Pride, agreed with the board’s decision. “He violated school policy, despite multiple warnings from administrators. We do need statewide policy guidance that protects lgbtq students and prevents situations like this from happening again,” he wrote.
According to reports, both the student and one of her parents had expressed that she felt “ostracized” when Vlaming referred to her using female pronouns, thereby creating a “hostile learning environment.”
The firing of Peter Vlaming is not a isolated incident and is happening more often nationwide according to news reports. Conservative groups and religious organizations have begun to argue that their freedom of religion is in jeopardy. ” At many points during American history, the rights of fringe religious groups to practice their religions have been upheld, because our nation has always been committed to that first freedom of religious expression.
However, today, more and more Americans of faith have said they are seeing their religious liberty chipped away. “In 21st century America, being a person who is committed to upholding what the Bible teaches can be reason for an employer to fire you or a city council to fine you.”
In a related news report. In Brownsburg, Indiana. John Kluge, a beloved music teacher at Brownsburg High School, was forced to either resign or be fired due to his Christian convictions about gender and sexuality. The school issued a policy requiring all teachers to refer to kids by their chosen names and pronouns as opposed to names on birth certificates and genders.
John claimed his deep religious conviction hampered him from following school policies which he believes discriminates against his freedom of religion and that gender is given by the most High God and cannot be altered. As a result, he believes it would do harm to a child to encourage a destructive lifestyle such as transgenderism. “I really care about kids and I don’t want to do any harm to them. I was talking to my pastor about the scenario of calling a student by an opposite sex name and what harm I believe that would do to them. I remember breaking down and weeping at that scenario. I cannot in good conscience do what I believe will cause harm,” says John.
At the beginning of the school year, the school administrators told John that he could refer to students by their last names. However, in February of this year John was told that unless he started referring to students by the gender they wanted, he would be fired.
“They told me to start using the transgender students opposite sex names and if I was not willing to do that I would be terminated by May 1. The other option they gave me was to resign so I could get paid over the summer.”