ACTION: Object to Firing of Teacher for Refusing to Comply with Forced Speech

The Issue

Earlier this month, Peter Vlaming, a beloved French teacher at West Point High School in Virginia, was fired from his seven-year position because he refused to use male pronouns when discussing and/or addressing a female student. 

This is the first known case of a school in the United States compelling a teacher to use speech that denies biological reality.

What You Can Do

Email and phone the superintendent of Virginia’s West Point High School, who gave Mr. Vlaming the ultimatum of either using speech that denies biological reality or be fired. Share your outrage that not only does this infringe on Mr. Vlaming’s rights to free speech and thought, but that the institutionalization of a lie so great that it denies biological reality, is a danger to children and adults alike.

Copy the School Board and staff, local Virginia and national media.

Copy regional media and City entities to ensure all relevant players understand the issue and are thus forewarned of their culpability if they fail to intervene.

Email Script

Dear Superintendent Laura K. Abel,

I am outraged that you have fired Mr. Peter Vlaming, a beloved French teacher, for refusing to comply with your unsubstantiated and undocumented mandate to use a male pronoun for a female student. For starters, this is an egregious violation of Mr. Vlaming’s right to freedom of speech and thought. But, more broadly, by attempting to coerce Mr. Vlaming to deny the biological reality of his students and replace it with a lie, you are attempting to set an outrageous and dangerous precedent and abuse his actual teaching mandate: to teach French.

Mr. Vlaming made every effort to respect the wishes of a female student by addressing her with her new name, even though he did not wish to use her “preferred pronouns.” Obviously, in your view, Mr. Vlaming’s willingness to compromise did not meet your absolute demand for him to comply with the political ideology that is being driven into institutions in the United States, Canada, the UK and elsewhere, that sexual dimorphism in humans is not grounded in material reality.

It is an abysmal testimony that under your administration, policies are artificially imposed on students, teachers and parents that are not supported by science and that do not resonate with the majority of your community or with communities nationwide. This is why mandates like yours need to be enforced with threats and dictatorial ultimatums. Then why do you do it? Could it be because these policies are politically driven by the funding of elites, corporations and organizations with an agenda?

It is your job to ask why you let yourself be manipulated into institutionalizing such a lie. Who is forcing this political ideology into our institutions and onto our children? A compassionate and comprehensive alternative to enforcing this harmful political ideology can be found in this School Resource Pack that shows how to protect the rights of all, including teachers, gender non-conforming and trans-identified students. Please take a look at it.

As a school superintendent, it is your job to protect both students and teachers and to be accountable to the parents of your students. This responsibility includes a mandate to ensure that political ideologies and social trends are not allowed to intrude on and replace educational lesson plans. Your job is to ensure that one student’s desires do not override the rights of other students or teachers.

I want you to account for firing Peter Vlaming, your infringement on his right to free speech and thought, and the rights of students not to be coerced to uphold a lie. One hundred of Peter Vlaming’s students walked out in protest of this appalling behavior. They knew it was wrong. I ask you, why don’t you?

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]

Phone Script:

(804) 843-4386 Superintendent Division

Please convey to Superintendent Abel that I am outraged by her decision to fire teacher Peter Vlaming for refusing to comply with forced speech. This violation of freedom of speech and thought damages students, teachers and all in our democracy.

Targets

Email Superintendent Laura K. Abel:

label@wpschools.net

Twitter: @labelwp

CC:

School board and staff; Town Council; Virginia and National Media:

jhochman@wpschools.net, pdiggs@wpschools.net, ejenkins@wpschools.net, pdorsey@wpschools.net, klawson@wpschools.net, dolsson@wpschools.net, koverton@wpschools.net, lfrazier@wpschools.net, Jhudson@west-point.va.us, dball@west-point.va.us, rlawrence@west-point.va.us, pkelley@west-point.va.us, cvincent@west-point.va.us, gnichols@west-point.va.us, tgulley@west-point.va.us, jlawson@west-point.va.us, rpowell@wvpublic.org, adam@mountainstage.org, croberts@wvpublic.org, editorial@thegazette.com , eisom@wvpublic.org, gboard@wvpublic.org, letters@dailypress.com, mporto@dailypress.com, cwjohnson@dailypress.com, ejhammond@dailypress.com, news@wric.com, guardian.readers@theguardian.com, USinfo@theguardian.com, mcgrory@globe.com, readers@washpost.com, acooper@sfchronicle.com , dbaquet@nytimes.com, cosmo.mail@hearst.co.uk, evening@cbsnews.com, NBCNewsMediaRelations@nbcuni.com, readers@washpost.com, Rachel@msnbc.com, betsy.reed@theintercept.com, wsj.ltrs@wsj.com, edit.features@wsj.com, tg.donlan@barrons.com, submissions@truthdig.com, info@truthout.org, counterpunch@counterpunch.org, queries@cjr.org, letters@harpers.org, hrwpress@hrw.org, scoop@motherjones.com, mail@newleftreview.org, comments@newstatesman.co.uk, support@salon.com, slateoffice@slate.com, newsdesk@independent.co.uk, Stephanie.ebbert@globe.com, editorialsubmissions@nymag.com, comments@nymag.com, outreach@democracynow.org, stories@democracynow.org, mike@democracynow.org, producers@democracynow.org, amy@democracynow.org, metro@sfchronicle.com, Charlotte.greensit@theintercept.com, jeffrey_goldberg@theatlantic.com, swati@theatlantic.com, sgaiser@sfexaminer.com, swilliams@abqjournal.com,  webteam@postandcourier.com, slateoffice@slate.com, media@thefederalist.com, swati@theatlantic.com, sgaiser@sfexaminer.com, swilliams@abqjournal.com, readers@forbes.com, nermeen@democracynow.org