Caleb Dalton of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Peter Vlaming, who was a French teacher for more than seven years.
"In the fall of 2017, a student who is female came to him and said that the student was going to identify as a male," Dalton details.
Vlaming went out of his way to accommodate the student, going so far as to use the student's new preferred name. He also had the French class choose new French names so the student would not feel singled out in class choosing a new name.
"The only thing he could not do was actually use male pronouns to refer to someone that he knew was a female," the attorney continues.
The accommodations Vlaming made were not enough for the West Point School Board, which embarked on what Dalton calls "a crusade to compel conformity to their ideological viewpoint."
Unless he referred to the female student as or with "he/him/his,"' he risked losing his job. "Peter in good conscience could not do that," the attorney continues, "so the school board fired him from his position."
Attorneys representing Vlaming had appealed his case to the Virginia Supreme Court after the Circuit Court for the County of King William dismissed the case. The Virginia Supreme Court has now decided to hear arguments in the case.
ADF maintains that tolerance should be a two-way street and points out that while Vlaming went out of his way to accommodate this student, the school board did nothing to accommodate the teacher's religious beliefs. That, says Dalton, is not constitutional, and he contends such intolerance should not be promoted.