Teacher fired for refusing to call student by preferred pronoun

A Virginia high school teacher has been fired after officials said he refused to call a transgender student by the student's preferred pronoun.

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Media outlets report Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia, had been on administrative leave since Oct. 31 for not using the preferred pronoun of a female-to-male transgender student. The West Point School Board voted Thursday for his termination, saying he violated policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The student and student's parents met with Vlaming multiple times and expressed their concerns, according to the Virginian-Pilot. Vlaming said religious reasons prevented him from referring to the student as male. He shared his views with the parents and agreed to use the student's male name, but said he would avoid using pronouns like "he," "him," "she" or "her" when referring to the student.

An incident occurred where the student was wearing virtual reality goggles and almost ran into a wall, and Vlaming shouted “don’t let her run into the wall.” The parents then said it was unhealthy for their child to remain in Vlaming’s class, said the school division’s attorney Stacy Haney.

Vlaming's attorney Shawn Voyles said Thursday that he and Vlaming will "look at his options," including filing an appeal in court.

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