Compelled speech: School fires Christian teacher who refused to refer to female student as ‘he/him’

"This is a case of compelled speech. He was actually fired for what he would not say," lawyer Shawn Voyles said.

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A school in Virginia has fired a Christian high school teacher for failing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun.

 

French language teacher Peter Vlaming worked at West Point High School for seven years before the school board voted 5-0 in favor of his termination.

Vlaming told WWBT, “I’m totally happy to use the new name. I’m happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I’m not here to provoke… but I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscience and faith.”

According to the school, Vlaming’s personal stance violated the school system’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies.

Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles said, “Tolerance is a two-way street. My client respects this student’s rights; he is simply asking that his rights be respected as well…

“The student is absolutely free to identify as the student pleases,” Voyles continued. “The school board adopted one view point and required Mr. Vlaming, at the cost of his job, to repeat that ideology, repeat that viewpoint. That’s where it’s compelled speech. That’s where it violates his First Amendment right he still retains as a public employee.”

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