This Teacher Was Fired for ‘Misgendering’ a Student. Who Could Be Next?

By Published on December 11, 2018

Last week, a Virginia school board voted unanimously to fire a teacher after he refused to comply with administrators’ orders to use a female student’s preferred masculine pronouns. The student “transitioned” over the summer and began identifying as a man.

This latest casualty in the culture wars raises the obvious question: Who could be next?

Peter Vlaming went to great lengths to accommodate the student without violating his Christian faith. He used the student’s new name to avoid upsetting the student, but refrained from using pronouns altogether in the student’s presence to avoid speaking against his belief that God created human beings male and female.

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

However, this was not enough to satisfy the student’s family or the board.

“I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening,” said the principal, who had ordered the teacher to use the student’s preferred pronouns against his beliefs.

This incident does not bode well for future conflicts over transgender policies. As more of these conflicts arise in schoolshospitalsshelters, and businesses, America must allow its citizens to think about and debate these issues freely.

No one should fear losing their job because they believe that men and women are biological realities that are not interchangeable.

Unfortunately, government coercion as a weapon of the culture wars is now spreading across the professions.

First, there were cases in the wedding industry where the government tried to force people to violate their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman — floristsbakersphotographerswedding venues, and so forth.

Then those lawsuits spread to even more industries — videographyweb designcalligraphy studios, and public service.

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Now, the government is beginning to penalize people who hold that there are two biological sexes. For example, a Catholic hospital was sued for refusing to remove a biological female’s healthy uterus to pursue transition. Meanwhile, two parents lost custody of their teenage daughter for refusing to allow their child to take testosterone and identify as a boy.

This could be just the beginning. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recently announced that the Equality Act will be a top Democratic priority in 2019. The bill would impose controversial transgender policies on the nation by elevating “gender identity” to protected status in federal anti-discrimination law.

This would have drastic implications for average Americans. It would open up sex-specific facilities like bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters to members of the opposite biological sex. It would allow biological males to compete on women’s sports teams. It would force health care providers and insurance companies to provide and pay for radical transgender therapies.

In brief, stories like Vlaming’s would become the new normal.

This kind of sweeping, coercive policy is not the answer to current debates about gender identity. Americans must remain free to discuss these policies in a respectful manner — which is why the firing of Vlaming is so disturbing. Instead of allowing the parties involved to find a workable compromise, the school board not only picked sides, it silenced one side.

This is an extremely disturbing precedent.

Sadly, while Vlaming was willing to work to make the student a cherished member of the community, the school board was not willing to work to make the teacher a cherished member as well.

Instead of pursuing a solution that would respect everyone — teacher and student alike — the school board refused to respect Vlaming’s beliefs and terminated him.

Speaking and acting according to one’s conscience should not be a fireable offense. When authorities try to force people to act against their beliefs, it is a blatant abuse of power — one that can easily backfire when political power changes hands. That is why everyone should be concerned about these emerging challenges to freedom of conscience.

Now that Vlaming has lost his job, who could be next?

The honest answer is that someday, it may well be you.

 

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

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  • Anne

    If we are not already in end times, we must be close. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Spiritual death.

  • Just One Voice

    “I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening,” said the principal…

    That principal needs to be removed and go volunteer at a shelter or something! Seriously, can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than refusing to use preferred pronouns? And to think they call us narrow-minded.

  • Juan Garcia

    Supreme Court?

    • kenneth20754

      Social conservatives should start running for school board and other local government positions in droves. Dismantling the federal Department of Education would help a lot as well.

      • BobFromDistrict9

        Social conservatives have been way ahead of you on that. It’s been over a decade since conservative groups have made that part of their agenda.

        • kenneth20754

          And the outcome of that has been…?

          • BobFromDistrict9

            They took over a lot of school systems, plus the systems in the South they have run for a long time.

            The result has not been good, as they don’t know much or care about actually running schools, one or the other or both.

          • kenneth20754

            Then clearly what they are doing has not been working and they need to re-evaluate matters.

            Perhaps I should amend my original suggestion to read that competent and informed social conservatives should start running for election to local offices, including seats on the school board.

  • BobFromDistrict9

    “Speaking and acting according to one’s conscience should not be a fireable offense.”

    Tell that to the German Jews in 1939.

    I used to work with a fellow who believed, as part of the teaching of his conservative “Christian” faith, that inter-racial marriage was against the Bible.

    “Instead of allowing the parties involved to find a workable compromise,”

    What makes you think there is a compromise to be found? How can his beliefs be allowed for in any solution that does not let him do exactly as he has been doing?

    ” It would force health care providers and insurance companies to provide and pay for radical transgender therapies.”

    So, we can assume you rind making health care providers and insurance companies to provide and pay for non-radical transgender therapies.

    “This would have drastic implications for average Americans. It would
    open up sex-specific facilities like bathrooms, locker rooms, and
    shelters to members of the opposite biological sex.”

    I do not and never have had sex specific facilities in my home, why do they need to be anywhere else? I have seen long lines for the women’s restroom in a restaurant, while the men’s is empty, and both only accommodate one person at a time. Simple solution, have restrooms all one person at a time facilities. Locker rooms similar. Shelters would require more thought, but that is hardly the basis of the complaints.

    “First, there were cases in the wedding industry where the government
    tried to force people to violate their belief that marriage is between a
    man and a woman — florists, bakers, photographers, wedding venues, and so forth.”

    It all goes back to when the supreme court uprooted long held beliefs among conservative Christians that marriage is between a man and a woman of the same race, and that mixing races was wrong and should be illegal. Obviously they never should have ruled that interracial marriage was legal. Even though that would mean my marriage was illegal, obviously your arguments are so convincing we should accept them.

    As it is, when my wife sees a white man with a black woman she blames me for setting the precedent, and now you make the argument so eloquently that I may have to accept the blame.

    • Bryan

      “I do not and never have had sex specific facilities in my home, why do they need to be anywhere else? I have seen long lines for the women’s restroom in a restaurant, while the men’s is empty, and both only accommodate one person at a time. Simple solution, have restrooms all one person at a time facilities. Locker rooms similar. Shelters would require more thought, but that is hardly the basis of the complaints.”

      This has been proposed by many people and it is usually received as bigoted by the LGBT activists.

      • BobFromDistrict9

        “This has been proposed by many people and it is usually received as bigoted by the LGBT activists.”

        Not anywhere I have heard of.

        • Bryan

          Searching on the Stream provided this:
          https ://stream(dot)org/ texas-fails-pass-bathroom-bill-end-session/
          Remove spaces and add dot.
          The reference is to single occupancy restrooms for public schools.

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