With an increasing number of high-profile individuals coming out as transgender or ‘gender fluid’, Lucinda van der Hart explores how we can begin to formulate a...
Christian teacher takes school to court in 'transgender' row
A Christian maths teacher has taken his employer to court after he was disciplined for "misgendering a transgender student".
Joshua Sutcliffe has sued an Oxfordshire school and its headmaster in an Employment Tribunal, after accusations of gross misconduct in the situation.
He was suspended and placed in isolation in November for telling students "well done girls" while one of them wanted to be identified as a boy. Sutcliffe has now claimed he had been unfairly dismissed by the school.
According to Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the teacher, the child had self-declared as "male", but Sutcliffe, had been given no formal instruction on how he was to refer to the pupil.
The charity said when the pupil became irate Sutcliffe sought to diffuse the situation and apologised. However, an investigation began during which Sutcliffe was prevented from teaching.
The week-long investigation found that Sutcliffe "misgendered" the pupil, "demonstrating discriminatory behaviours" and "contravened the school's equality policy". The school recommended dealing with the matter of "misconduct" under its disciplinary policy.
Sutliffe's claim of discrimination also stems from his Bible club at the school being shut down 18 months after it began.
Christian Legal Centre said the club was attended by over 100 pupils in its time, but the head teacher told him that it could not run without a register and a curriculum.
The charity claimed when Sutcliffe produced the required documents, the head still insisted on cancelling the club, whilst at the same time allowing the school's LGBTI, mindfulness club, and Qigong club to continue running without register or curriculum.
When the story was made public in November, the school postponed the pre-scheduled disciplinary hearing, and initiated further investigations against Sutcliffe, alleging breach of confidence and bringing the school into disrepute.
In response, Sutcliffe wrote to the headmaster accusing the school of "increasingly oppressive" behaviour and of presuming him to be guilty of misconduct.
He stated that the school's investigations are "unashamedly designed to silence me from speaking out about your malpractices".
The letter reads: "As a Christian, I do not share your belief in the ideology of Transgenderism. I do not believe that young children should be encouraged to self-select a 'gender' which may be different from their biological sex; or that everyone at school should adjust their behaviour to accommodate such a 'transition'; or that people should be punished for lack of enthusiasm about it.
"Implementation of these ideas is detrimental to the welfare of children, which I believe should be a paramount consideration. However, as a professional, I was always careful not to breach my employer's policies so long as I was not forced to act contrary to my conscience."
Sutcliffe claimed that the school has "systematically and maliciously" breached his rights, and has made it impossible for him to continue working for it.
He continued: "I am more than willing to answer all the unjustified allegations you are now advancing against me, and detail my own grievances about your totalitarian 'equality' policies and practices.
"However, I intend to do so before an independent Tribunal, not before yourselves acting as a judge and jury in your own case. I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice."
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said cases like these have become common.
She said: "What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.
Listen to Andrea Williams speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:
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