Some student's rallied behind the instructor.
A high school in Virginia is divided after one of its teachers would not call a trans student by his preferred pronouns and was subsequently fired.
The 47-year-old instructor named Peter Vlaming had been employed as a French teacher at West Point Public Schools for at least seven years according to New Now Next. His dismissal was the result of a school board members vote after Mr. Vleming would not call a ninth-grader by male pronouns. He was put on administrative leave on October 31.
The student's parents asked that the teacher honor their child's request to use his chosen name. Mr. Vleming said he would respect the student by using the name, but not the pronouns. The issue escalated to the administrators.
A hearing by the school board was held on Dec. 6 in which over 100 people attended with people on both sides of the issue. Some in support of the teacher who say using the pronouns violated the teacher's religious beliefs.
The lengthy meeting resulted in a unanimous vote by the board to let him go saying he was being discriminatory.
The polarizing issue caused some students to walk-out after hearing of Mr. Vleming's firing. They toted signs which read “Free Vlaming” and “Justice for Vlaming,” according to The Virginia Gazette.
“Everyone has rights, the student has rights, but so does Mr. Vlaming,” said Forrest Rohde, a junior who orchestrated the walkout. “This is violating Mr. Vlaming’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. He cares about his students and we care about him.”
The teacher stood fast on his conviction saying that if he were reinstated at the school he still wouldn't comply with the student's request.
Vlaming has not decided whether or not he will appeal the decision.