As Americans, are we free to use the correct words in our own language to describe the reality that is before our eyes?
That’s what is at stake in Virginia, where a teacher who was fired for exercising his right to speak plainly is now appealing his case to the state Supreme Court after it was dismissed by a Circuit Court.
Peter Vlaming, who taught French at West Point High School for nearly a decade, refused to refer to a female student with male pronouns in 2018 and was placed on administrative leave. The following year, the local school board unanimously voted to fire him.
Vlaming has sued the school board for violating his rights under the Virginia Constitution and commonwealth law.
“Peter has every right to fight this unlawful decision by the school board, and we will be defending him every step of the way,” said Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Vlaming. “Peter went above and beyond to treat this student with respect, including using the student’s preferred masculine name and avoiding pronoun usage in the student’s presence.
“This was never about anything Peter said — or didn’t say — it is about a school demanding total conformity in utter disregard of Peter’s efforts and his freedoms under Virginia law.”
CBN News, which is covering the story, previously reported that students at Vlaming’s school were furious over his firing. Nearly 150 students showed their support for him by taking part in a walkout.
The incident and loss of employment has been hard for Vlaming, he said. A GoFundMe account set up for him and his family has so far brought in $58,524 of its $75,000 goal.