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Peter Vlaming in a 2021 interview with The Daily SignalThe Daily Signal/screenshot

(The Daily Signal) – After a Virginia teacher was fired for refusing to call a girl a boy, now the state’s Supreme Court has the opportunity to decide whether a local school board violated the teacher’s legal rights.

A lawyer for French teacher Peter Vlaming asked February 15 that the Virginia Supreme Court take up the case, Vlaming v. West Point School Board.

“No government can force any Virginian to express messages that violate their core beliefs,” Chris Schandevel told The Daily Signal after arguing for Vlaming before Virginia’s highest court.

Schandevel, a lawyer with the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, asked the court “to reinstate the lawsuit that [Vlaming] filed in state trial court,” which dismissed the case without explanation last August.

As previously reported by The Daily Signal, the West Point School Board fired Vlaming in December 2018 after he declined to use male pronouns to refer to a female student who identified as a transgender male.

Almost a year later, Vlaming filed a lawsuit against the West Point School Board for breach of contract, arguing that the body violated his rights under the Virginia Constitution.

“Mr. Vlaming was not fired for something he said; he was fired for something that he could not say based on his religious beliefs,” Schandevel argued Tuesday.

“This is a case about compelled speech,” he said.

Lawyers for the West Point School Board did not present an argument before the Virginia Supreme Court.

Before being terminated, Vlaming taught French for seven years at West Point High School, about 40 miles east of Richmond.

In 2018, the female student in question gave the teacher a letter saying she was transgender and wanted to be called by a new masculine name. Vlaming agreed to call the student by the new name, but explained to his principal that he “couldn’t in good conscience pronounce masculine pronouns to refer to a girl,” he told The Daily Signal during an interview in 2020.

Vlaming said he tried to avoid using female pronouns with the student, but in the fall of 2018, he accidentally called the student “she” in front of the class. The same day, Vlaming was called to his principal’s office and put on administrative leave.

Superintendent Laura Abel said Vlaming could return to teach at West Point High if he would use male pronouns proactively to refer to the female student. Vlaming again explained that he could not in good conscience refer to a female as a male.

Abel recommended that Vlaming be fired, and the school board voted 5-0 to terminate him.

Vlaming loved teaching and was well liked by students. Some students spoke out in his defense after he was fired.

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Catholic seminaries in the United States are now scrutinizing applications for the formation of new classes for this coming Autumn.

One of the requirements - which comes to us from the Lord's decision to select only men as His apostles - is that all candidates for the priesthood must be male, biologically, from birth.

But, tragically, some gender-confused women, masquerading as men, have actually been unknowingly admitted to seminaries.

Therefore, urgent steps must be taken by all U.S. bishops to ensure that this never happens in their seminaries.

Please SIGN this petition which calls on all U.S. bishops to take steps to ensure that all candidates for the priesthood are male - biologically, from birth.*

With the steep rise of gender dysphoria (being confused about one's sex) and so-called "transitioning" (where one attempts to change one's sex by the use of opposite-sex hormones and through surgery), Catholic seminaries have seen a corresponding rise in applications from gender-confused individuals.

And, some of those applicants have even been accepted -- only to be expelled when the truth eventually came out.

In a recent memo, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, head of the USCCB's Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, stated that the Conference was “made aware of instances where it had been discovered that a woman living under a transgender identity had been unknowingly admitted to [a] seminary or to a house of formation of an institute of consecrated life.”

Archbishop Listecki's memo suggest that DNA tests and medical exams should be instituted to stop any further incidents.

This petition asks that these steps be made mandatory for all applicants to the priesthood or religious life. Making such requirements mandatory for all would obviate claims of singling out individuals for special treatment.

Additionally, this petition also asks for a fundamental change in Catholic baptism certificates, most of which do not currently indicate sex at birth.

Changing the baptism certificate to reflect sex at birth would help future seminary staff in making crucial decisions about who they admit to their ranks.

Thank you for SIGNING this urgent petition directed to all U.S. Catholic bishops. After you have signed, please consider SHARING with your likeminded friends, family and fellow parishioners.


'USCCB memo reveals women identifying as ‘trans men’ infiltrated seminaries' -

*This petition does not address the issue of individuals who, while born with male DNA, may exhibit female sexual characteristics (e.g., genitalia, features). The Church already acknowledges that such individuals cannot present themselves as candidates for the priesthood because of the aforementioned issues which are impediments for those individuals to fully embrace the masculine character required for the priesthood.

This petition also does not address the issue of biological men who say they are women. Such individuals are also automatically excluded as being candidates for the priesthood for the same reason above (as well as the obvious psychological issues present).

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“I had huge support—students who truly came to my side and parents who came to my side to encourage me, to express their support,” Vlaming told “The Daily Signal Podcast” during a September 2021 interview.

His lawyer says that Vlaming, a father of four, has not been able to find a job at another public school because of his termination. He is seeking $1 million in damages.

If the Virginia Supreme Court takes up Vlaming’s case, arguments likely would be scheduled for the fall, Schandevel said.

“We’re very optimistic that they’re going to take the case,” Schandevel said. “And once they do take the case, we’re likewise equally optimistic that they will rule in Peter’s favor.”

In America, “protections for free speech and for free exercise of religion are just foundational for the functioning of our democracy,” Schandevel told The Daily Signal, “and this is a very important case to affirm that for all Virginians.”

Reprinted with permission from The Daily Signal


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