Virginia teacher sues school after being fired for not using transgender student's pronouns... (1 Viewer)

crosswatt

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A Virginia high school teacher who was fired for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronouns has filed a lawsuit against school officials and the board.
Peter Vlaming, who was a French teacher at West Point High School, said he was fired because he would not use pronouns such as "him" and "his" to refer to a female student who was transitioning to male.

According to the suit filed Monday in King William County, using the male pronouns would have "violated" Vlaming's "conscience" and went against his religious beliefs, so he called the student by his preferred name during class and avoided using pronouns altogether.

 
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crosswatt

crosswatt

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Interesting to me that he cites his right to freedom of speech as a reason why he's suing. Both as a public sector employee, and as a teacher, you have an entire list of restrictions on what you can and cannot say. It's a part of the gig.
 

Lazybones

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Interesting to me that he cites his right to freedom of speech as a reason why he's suing. Both as a public sector employee, and as a teacher, you have an entire list of restrictions on what you can and cannot say. It's a part of the gig.
This part is the article stood out to me.

“Defendants did not have any written policy regarding using pronouns. ... Defendants made up an uncompromising interpretation of their policies to compel Mr. Vlaming to take sides in an ongoing public debate regarding gender dysphoria and use pronouns that express an objectively untrue ideological message." the suit reads.”

I guess his argument is that the rules were made up on the fly.
 
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crosswatt

crosswatt

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This part is the article stood out to me.

“Defendants did not have any written policy regarding using pronouns. ... Defendants made up an uncompromising interpretation of their policies to compel Mr. Vlaming to take sides in an ongoing public debate regarding gender dysphoria and use pronouns that express an objectively untrue ideological message." the suit reads.”

I guess his argument is that the rules were made up on the fly.
Which would be a good point, but my understanding about how schools function is that quite often, an administrator has to make an off the cuff ruling on something, and the teachers are supposed to follow the guidance unless it conflicts with a preexisting and established policy position. Meaning that he should have complied and appealed the directive to the superintendent or school board.
 
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crosswatt

crosswatt

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Does the bible talk about trans people and pronoun use?

Is being trans a sin?
Not specifically. But in two places it references what could be considered set gender norms as assigned by the Almighty. 1st Corinthians 11:14-15 speaks of long hair being shameful for a man but a practice of honor for a woman, and Deuteronomy 22:5 cites that men who wear women's clothes and women who wear men's clothes are an abomination. The reasons behind both are obviously pretty open for debate, but can and have been used to denounce transgender/transvestite activities as immoral. And I assume would be his scripture to back up his stance.
 

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The lack of a written policy ought to be enough to have him reinstated, but they should do so with a clear warning that his religious views in this matter are irrelevant.
A Muslim teacher doesn't get to just teach boys, or refuse to teach in a room with a service dog, for instance. When you work for/with the public, you have to leave some of your religion at the door.
 

Krodwhodat

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The lack of a written policy ought to be enough to have him reinstated, but they should do so with a clear warning that his religious views in this matter are irrelevant.
A Muslim teacher doesn't get to just teach boys, or refuse to teach in a room with a service dog, for instance. When you work for/with the public, you have to leave some of your religion at the door.
I think it’s unfair to make a statement that he is refusing to teach the child. Unless I’m misunderstanding he is refusing to call him by a pronoun the child wants to be called. There is a huge difference in the two.
 

Krodwhodat

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Another thought for me is why are we allowing an 8th grader to transition? I think at some point it has to be brought up that age is important in these types of decisions. In 8th grade I wasn’t even sure what I wanted for breakfast much less perform a surgical procedure or life altering decision that would stay for the rest of my life. There needs to be more oversight in these types of issues.
 

yuyi64

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I think it’s unfair to make a statement that he is refusing to teach the child. Unless I’m misunderstanding he is refusing to call him by a pronoun the child wants to be called. There is a huge difference in the two.
Correct. And as long as he calls the student by the name he was registered in school with and treats the student fairly with the same respect he treats his other students, he should not be forced to use pronouns since there appears to be no school or district policy regarding pronouns.
 

V Chip

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The definition of objectively is something that doesn’t depend on feelings or opinions, or something that doesn’t require the mind/thought to exist. He’s using something (religion) that isn’t objectively true to argue against something he claims is objectively false. I find that ironic.
 

RobF

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Another thought for me is why are we allowing an 8th grader to transition? I think at some point it has to be brought up that age is important in these types of decisions. In 8th grade I wasn’t even sure what I wanted for breakfast much less perform a surgical procedure or life altering decision that would stay for the rest of my life. There needs to be more oversight in these types of issues.
Multiple points to make to that:

1) Starting to transition does not mean immediately having surgery.
2) Minor point, but the student concerned was reportedly in the 9th grade, not 8th.
3) People that age are entirely capable of having strong notions about their identity, regardless of your own personal breakfast-related struggles.
4) You're saying 'allowing them' but really you're talking about preventing them from doing what they want to do with regards to their own identity. That's a pretty brutal approach with its own consequences. There's no neutral option here. You can't just hit pause on someone else's self-identity.
5) Who exactly is it you want to have this oversight you say is needed? Parents and, where appropriate, medical professionals are already involved. Who else should be? The school board? The government?

As for the teacher, it's fine to have your own personal beliefs. Those don't take precedence over your responsibilities though. As a teacher, you have a responsibility to respect your students.
 

V Chip

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The lack of a written policy ought to be enough to have him reinstated, but they should do so with a clear warning that his religious views in this matter are irrelevant.
I don’t think he should have been fired especially with the lack of clear policy, but what a dick move to refuse to call a student what they prefer to be called (within reason, and imo a pronoun is reasonable). Would this teacher refuse to call a student by their middle name if they preferred that, or a nickname? Sure he can do that but it’s just a shirtty thing to cling to.
 

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The definition of objectively is something that doesn’t depend on feelings or opinions, or something that doesn’t require the mind/thought to exist. He’s using something (religion) that isn’t objectively true to argue against something he claims is objectively false. I find that ironic.
Gotcha. Thanks for the explanation.
 

Krodwhodat

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Multiple points to make to that:

1) Starting to transition does not mean immediately having surgery.
2) Minor point, but the student concerned was reportedly in the 9th grade, not 8th.
3) People that age are entirely capable of having strong notions about their identity, regardless of your own personal breakfast-related struggles.
4) You're saying 'allowing them' but really you're talking about preventing them from doing what they want to do with regards to their own identity. That's a pretty brutal approach with its own consequences. There's no neutral option here. You can't just hit pause on someone else's self-identity.
5) Who exactly is it you want to have this oversight you say is needed? Parents and, where appropriate, medical professionals are already involved. Who else should be? The school board? The government?

As for the teacher, it's fine to have your own personal beliefs. Those don't take precedence over your responsibilities though. As a teacher, you have a responsibility to respect your students.
The article said he started transitioning the summer before his 9th grade year so in between 8th and 9th would be accurate I guess. Secondly if he wants to be a girl, dress like a girl etc I have no problem with that. Maybe I wasn’t clear or you are misrepresenting what I said but preventing them from being who they are was never in what I said or how I said it. Making them wait until they are an adult to transition medically is being responsible. You can still live as a woman without transitioning medically. I wanted a tattoo when I was in high school, I fought my parents on it, my dad has tattoos but they told me as long as I was in there house the answer was no. Turned 18 went to college and was thankful I didn’t get one. I’m glad they made me wait. While transitioning and tattoos are not even in the same realm the point is that I changed my mind and I didn’t have something permanent that I would had to have a medical procedure to remove.

I think we can agree that parents and the environment we grow up in can have a huge influence in who we become but that’s not always a good thing. The little girl down the street is 11 and tell my daughter she is bisexual, and summons demons. Her mother is ultra progressive and thought it was wonderful that her child was being her true self. She wore a suit and tie to her 6th grade step up program and her mother was so proud and bragged it was her idea. The little girl tried to kill herself this past summer. She wasn’t being herself she was asking for help. Not all end this way but kids under 18 even 21 have no idea what they want in life.
And don’t even get me started with doctors. I think we know where that goes.
 

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