A Virginia high school teacher who recently received the boot simply for declining to call a female student “he” due to his Christian faith has sparked protest from enthusiastic students who have joined together to display support for and solidarity with the teacher.
The West Point, Virginia school board voted unanimously last week to fire Peter Vlaming after he refused to agree to address a transitioning student by the male pronoun.
Vlaming agreed to be otherwise accommodating, such as calling the student by the new male name she had chosen for herself, but claimed that to refer to a biological female using the male pronoun would be a violation of his belief that our gender is determined by God.
Not long after the decision was made to essentially fire Vlaming for his religious beliefs, students walked out and rallied outside the school to show their support for the former French teacher, Life Site News reports.
Student chant “bring him back”. Most of them have been outside for nearly an hour at this point. There’s a mix of high school and middle school students out here right now. #VAnews #NBC12 pic.twitter.com/GOfLCD4PmN
— Karina Bolster (@KarinaNBC12) December 7, 2018
“He’s an amazing man,” student Wyatt Pedersen told WWBT News. “I think he really was going with what he believed was right and it’s really unfair that he’s being punished for that, especially in such a dramatic way.”
“The school board is trying to force the teacher to conform to their ideologies with the threat of removal from the school,” said Forrest Rohde, the West Point High School junior who organized the walkout.
The protesting students made it clear that their protest was not about the transgender student; they blame the school board for Vlaming’s termination, according to the report.
“The child is going through a lot,” Rohde continued. “We shouldn’t be directing this towards her, we should be directing this towards the school board.”
The fired teacher’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, noted that the peaceful tone of the student walkout contrasted with the treatment that students received from the school administration when they had previously attempted to support the besieged teacher.
“We are glad to see that West Point Public Schools permitted this peaceful protest today,” said Voyles in a statement. “That was not the case in November when the students began circulating a petition to return my client to his job. As a student testified at the hearing…the high school principal actually confiscated the petition. It unfortunately took a threat of legal action by a student to have it returned.”
Life Site News provides contact information for school board members which they request we contact respectfully:
Mr. Paul Diggs – Chairman
Mr. Elliot Jenkins – Vice Chairman
Mrs. Phyllis Dorsey
Ms. Kay Lawson
Mrs. Dudley P. Olsson
Laura K. Abel
Let’s let these folks know that the world is watching and we’d love to see them treat both student and teacher fairly under our Constitution!