Va. attorney general says teacher who refused to use transgender pronouns was wrongfully fired

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Teacher Peter Vlaming

Virginia’s new attorney general is siding with a teacher’s freedom to use accurate language of his own choosing when he is on the job, even as Democrats nationwide try to muzzle anyone who would call a male a male and a female a female.

The office of Attorney General Jason Miyares has filed a brief with Virginia Supreme Court in support of Peter Vlaming, a former West Point teacher who was terminated in 2018 for refusing on religious grounds to use the “preferred” – and inaccurate – pronouns of a transgender student, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The brief points to the Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2007, and asserts that the School Board’s firing of Vlaming “violated Virginia’s robust constitutional free-exercise protections, which reflect the Commonwealth’s pioneering history of defending religious freedom.”

Vlaming’s lawyers argued in their own brief that Virginia state law is more specific about religious expression than “the watered-down version of the federal right” enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Vlaming taught French at West Point High School near Richmond, but was dismissed in December 2018 after refusing to follow administrators’ directions to refer to a female student – who had gone through a “gender transition” – with male pronouns. He sued the school board, but a King William County Circuit Court judge dismissed the case.

Vlaming now seeks to have the state Supreme Court declare that the court erred and the case must be returned to it.

The teacher had even agreed to use the girl’s new, male name, but when he tried to avoid using any inaccurate pronouns when referring to the student, the student said it made her uncomfortable. Administrators sided with the gender-confused student, telling Vlaming he could not treat his transgender pupil differently than he treats others.

Even though using inaccurate pronouns would, in fact, have been “treating her differently.”

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