Teacher Sues After Suspension for “Misgendering” Student

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A Christian math teacher from the UK who was suspended from his job after referring to a female student who was “transitioning” into a male as a girl is now suing the school for religious discrimination.

The Christian Post is reporting on the case involving Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who was suspended after accidentally “misgendering” a student during a class. The incident occurred when he told a group of students, “well done girls.” One of the girls was transitioning and became irate when he did not refer to her as a boy. Sutcliffe quickly apologized and thought nothing of it until last month when he was summoned to the headmaster’s office and told that a “transgender complaint” had been made against him and he was suspended while it was being investigated.

Sutcliffe was then made to come to school every day and sit in the staff room rather than teach. He was also forbidden from discussing the situation with colleagues.

“I was absolutely shocked to be told by the head that I was under investigation. I didn’t know what was happening. It was surreal, Kafkaesque,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“I said it was only one incident for which I had apologized, but he insisted the investigation would go ahead. I had always tried to respect the pupil and keep a professional attitude as well as my integrity, but it seemed to me that the school was trying to force me to adhere to its liberal, Leftish agenda,” he said.

Sutcliffe, who is also the pastor of an evangelical church, said he was never given any instruction on how to properly address transgender students.

A week-long investigation resulted in the school finding that Sutcliffe had “misgendered” the student and demonstrated “discriminatory behaviors” that were against the school’s equality policy. The student’s family also claimed that Sutcliffe gave their child a disproportionate number of detentions for poor behavior even though the claim was not upheld during the investigation.

The school scheduled Sutcliffe for a disciplinary hearing but by then, word had gotten out about the horrendous treatment Sutcliffe was enduring and a national outcry ensued. This made the school postpone the hearing although they allege that Sutcliffe made a breach of confidence and brought the school into disrepute.

In other words, the school wanted the right to treat him poorly – in secret – but Sutcliffe had no right to complain about it in public.

Sutcliffe, who was left “distraught” over the whole affair said he believes his suspension is “political correctness gone mad” and is now suing the school.

He sent a letter to the school informing them that, as a Christian, he does not share their 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 behavior to accommodate such a ‘transition’; or that people should be punished for lack of enthusiasm about it.”

He continues: “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 Center, who is representing Sutcliffe, said this is only one of many cases that teachers are facing in the UK over these draconian “equality” policies.

“The teaching profession is becoming an ideological battleground as teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current sexual and gender ideology being imposed on our children in schools,” Williams said in a press release.

“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.”

She added: “If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them.”

The case will brought before an independent Employment Tribunal.

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