Case Page

Case Page: Vlaming v. West Point School Board

by | Nov 18, 2021 | Case | 0 comments

Peter Vlaming, a high school French teacher in Virginia, was terminated from his job at West Point High School because he could not comply with the school board’s ultimatum that he use masculine pronouns to refer to a female student who identified as male. Mr. Vlaming extended every reasonable accommodation to his student, including using the student’s preferred name and attempting to avoid the use of pronouns altogether, but his efforts to make his student feel respected didn’t go far enough for the school board. They demanded that he speak contrary to his religious and philosophical beliefs, insisting that he refer to her with a masculine pronoun, even when she wasn’t present. But calling a female student he or him was inconsistent with Mr. Vlaming’s convictions about the fundamental difference between the sexes and the nature of biological reality. Mr. Vlaming chose his words in accordance with his beliefs and academic judgment, so when the school board fired him for refusing to use a masculine pronoun, they were forcing him to violate his conscience and to assert a proposition that he believed to be false.