A teacher was fired for discrimination after continually referring to a trans student with as a female.
French teacher Peter Valming was fired for continually using female pronouns when referring to a female-to-male trans student.
Officials at West Point High School West Point High School in Virginia said that Valming was fired on the ground of non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
Valming said that he refused to refer to the student as a male because of religious reasons, ABC News reports.
‘I won’t use male pronouns with a female student that now identifies as a male though I did agree to use the new masculine name but avoid female pronouns,’ Valming said.
‘Administration is requiring that I use masculine pronouns in any and every context at school,’ he added. ‘I was informed that any further instances of using female pronouns would be grounds for termination.’
The West Point School Board voted unanimously to terminate Vlaming, a decision supported by Superintendent Laura Abel.
‘After thoughtful deliberation, the School Board voted to support the superintendent’s recommendation,’ the school’s board wrote in a statement. ‘The School Board has adopted policies and tonight we upheld these policies.’
An online petition supporting Valming has been set up, which has garnered over 1,000 signatures.
Not the first instance
This is not the first issue with the treatment of trans students to make headlines for Virginia.
In October, a trans student at a middle school in Stafford County was barred from both the girls’ and the boys’ locker rooms during a routine safety drill.
The student was then forced to sit alone in the corridor during a safety drill while the teachers allegedly discuss which locker room would be appropriate for her.
While the US has seen the introduction of a number of laws protecting the trans community, trans students are still fighting for equal rights.
Activists have emphasized the importance of building safe and inclusive spaces for trans students; according to a study released in September, over half of female-to-male trans teenagers between the ages of 11 to 19 in the US have attempted suicide.
Also in October, parents of 1,500 trans children wrote an open letter to the US government affirming their support for trans rights.
This came after a leaked government memo revealed the that White House intended to ‘legally erase’ transgender people by limiting the definition of gender to peoples’ genitalia at birth.