Virginia school district leaders ask court to uphold teacher firing in transgender student case

Former high school French teacher Peter Vlaming was fired by the school board on the grounds...
Former high school French teacher Peter Vlaming was fired by the school board on the grounds that he had violated the division’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.(Virginia Mercury)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 9:47 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 9:48 AM EDT
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School board members from five Virginia localities and Richmond schools’ superintendent have signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of Virginia opposing a former teacher’s claim that he was unlawfully fired for violating his district’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

The brief, which was submitted by LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Virginia and more than 35 signatories, asks the Supreme Court of Virginia to uphold the King William Circuit Court’s dismissal of former teacher Peter Vlaming’s lawsuit against the West Point School Board.

School board members who joined the brief include those from Arlington, Fairfax, and Stafford counties, and the cities of Charlottesville and Falls Church.

“Without clear protections, such as the commonwealth’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students in Virginia’s public schools and West Point’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, transgender children risk mental, emotional, physical, and sexual harm when they attend school,” the brief states. “Without these protections, transgender students suffer isolation and stigma when they are differentiated from their peers.”

Vlaming, a former high school French teacher with West Point, refused to use male pronouns to refer to a student who had recently undergone a gender transition and legal name change, according to a January 2019 letter from the school board. The school board then fired him on the grounds that he had violated the division’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)

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