Could there be hope for “Generation Z”?
Last week, Peter Vlaming—a French teacher at West Point High School in Virginia—was fired for refusing to use the “correct” pronouns to identify a transgender student.
Less than 24 hours later, his students held a walkout to support Vlaming.
The controversy started on October 31, when Vlaming was officially put on paid administrative leave for refusing to call a male-identifying female student “he,” despite a personal directive from the principal.
During a virtual reality demonstration, Vlaming had apparently referred to the student as “her,” which Vlaming claimed was a slip of the tongue. Vlaming offered to stop using any pronouns to identify the student altogether, citing his religion to honor the student’s chosen rather than biological gender.
That was, apparently, rejected by the school’s administrators.
After Vlaming was fired, several students marched in his support—holding signs that called for justice for their fired teacher, and defending his right to free speech. They had previously circled a petition, back in November, to reinstate Vlaming, but the petition was confiscated by the high school’s principal.
“I feel like everyone should have the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion as well,” said Zachary Gonzalez, a junior at West Point.
“The school board is trying to force the teacher to conform to their ideologies with the threat of removal from the school,” added Forrest Rohde, another junior, who first organized the walkout.
Despite the students’ efforts, Vlaming has not been reinstated by West Point High School.