Some bold students at West Point High School in West Point, Va., held a walkout Friday for Peter Vlaming, the French teacher who was fired for “misgendering” a female student who believes she is now a male.
Vlaming, who taught at both the high school and middle school for nearly seven years, refused to conform to the student’s and school board’s wishes to call the young lady by male pronouns, resulting in his termination from the high school.
“Mr. Vlaming was recommended for termination due to this insubordination and repeated refusal to comply with directives made to him by multiple WPPS administrators,” said Superintendent Laura Abel following the board’s decision.
But students didn’t let the school board’s decision stop them from calling for the reinstatement of the French teacher’s job. After staging a walkout, they gathered together on the school’s front lawn, chanting, “Bring him back, bring him back!”
Student chant “bring him back”. Most of them have been outside for nearly an hour at this point. There’s a mix of high school and middle school students out here right now. #VAnews #NBC12 pic.twitter.com/GOfLCD4PmN— Karina Bolster (@KarinaNBC12) December 7, 2018
“Both of my kids are out here and I’m so proud of them," Latia Masterson told NBC 12. "I’m so proud they are exercising their rights to explain how they feel in a peaceful way.”
"He's an amazing man,” said Wyatt Pedersen, who testified on Vlaming’s behalf at the school board hearing. “I think he really was going with what he believed was right and it's really unfair that he's being punished for that, especially in such a dramatic way."
The students and parents expressed their protest was not against the transgendered student, but against the school board’s decision to fire a man they described as a "model teacher."
“The child is going through a lot,” Forrest Rohde, a junior who organized he walkout, said. “We shouldn’t be directing this towards her, we should be directing this towards the school board.”
“Mr. Vlaming and I request that West Point students always show respect for this student, including when protesting against the school’s actions,” Voyles, Vlaming’s lawyer, added.
Voyles says he and his client are assessing options on how to proceed after Vlaming’s termination, "including a possible appeal with the circuit court," according to NBC 12.
Take a look at the video from NBC 12 below: