Eight school board members from five school divisions filed a brief with the Virginia Supreme Court in support of West Point Public Schools after the district fired a teacher who refused to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
High school French teacher Peter Vlaming lost his job for refusing to use male pronouns to refer to a biologically female student who requested he use male pronouns. The school board claimed his refusal to use male pronouns was transgender discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed its opening brief in the Virginia Supreme Court in the case of Peter Vlaming, a teacher who was fired after he declined to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Seven other organizations filed briefs supporting Vlaming on Tuesday, including the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Under our Constitution, Virginians have an absolute right not to be forced to publicly disavow their sincerely held religious beliefs—and that applies equally to public-school teachers. Even on pure speech grounds, the government cannot force its employees to falsely express their agreement with controversial messages they don’t believe without identifying a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved through significantly less restrictive means,” the ADF brief states.
The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School French teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns. The Court granted the appeal Thursday, according to announcement from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“Peter wasn’t fired for something he said; he was fired for something he couldn’t say,” ADF Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel said in the release. “As a teacher, Peter was passionate about the subject he taught, he was well-liked by his students, and he did his best to accommodate their needs and requests. But Peter could not in good conscience speak messages that he does not believe to be true.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School french teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns.
“Virginia’s Constitution protects every Virginian’s ‘free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,’ and provides that they ‘shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities,'” states the petition for appeal, filed November 12.
Peter Vlaming has two great passions—teaching and French.
But a Virginia school district stripped the French teacher of the ability to impart these passions in high school classrooms when it fired him for not using pronouns preferred by a transgender student.