French teacher Peter Vlaming was fired earlier this month by the West Point, Virginia, School Board.
The student was in Vlaming’s class as a female eighth-grader and then transitioned to male for her freshman year, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Vlaming agreed to use the student’s new name but said his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for the student.
School officials said he could not treat the student any differently from boys at the school.
“That discrimination then leads to creating a hostile learning environment,” superintendent Laura Abel said. “And the student had expressed that. The parent had expressed that. They felt disrespected.”
Tucker opened the segment by asking the fired teacher, “The first question I think in most people’s minds is going to be, did you in some way insult the student? Were you cruel to the student? Was there something untoward that you said to the student?”
Vlaming responded by saying, “Not at all.”
He said he loved and respected all of his students and used the student’s preferred name on a consistent basis. The school, however, required him to use male pronouns — even when the student wasn’t around.
“I used the new name, I avoided feminine pronouns, but male pronouns were a bridge too far,” Vlaming told Carlson.
“But I did everything in my power to accommodate and show respect towards this student and this student’s choices,” he said.
Tucker asked the question again: “So you never attacked the student or said, ‘I disagree with what you’re doing,’ or belittled the student, or anything like that?”
Vlaming replied, “Not at all, and it’s not my place as a public school teacher to give my view on that subject. I’m a French teacher. I teach French.”
Tucker then turned his attention to Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, and asked him, “Shawn, have you ever seen a case like this? A teacher fired for not saying something?”
“No, Tucker,” Voyles said. “To our understanding, this is the first time in the country. We should make clear, Tucker, all we’re asking for is that tolerance be a two-way street here.”
“Pete respected the student. All he has asked for is that the respect be extended to him and to his rights. This is a case of compelled speech, really,” the attorney said.
Voyles concluded, “Pete was actually fired for what he would not say.”
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