A Christian math teacher, who was barred from teaching in the United Kingdom after he was found guilty of “misgendering” a biologically female student who identified as a boy, has appealed his expulsion from the teaching profession.
Joshua Sutcliffe, 33, was banned by the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) in May of 2023, according to The Daily Mail.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Sutcliffe has appealed the authority’s decision following the U.K. government’s transgender guidelines published in December.
“No teacher or pupil should be compelled to use these preferred pronouns and it should not prevent teachers from referring to children collectively as ‘girls’ or ‘boys,’ even in the presence of a child that has been allowed to change their pronouns,” Section 6.3 of the draft guidance states.
Sutcliffe’s attorneys have appealed the TRA’s ruling to the High Court and are pursuing a Judicial Review of the decision to ban him, according to the Christian Legal Centre.
As CBN News reported in December 2017, Sutcliffe complimented two female students for doing a good job by saying, “Well done girls.” One of the students preferred to be considered a boy and took offense at the teacher’s words.
At the time, the school claimed Sutcliffe breached equality policies by referring to the pupil in that manner, but the math teacher says he was never trained on how to address students who identify as transgender, according to The Daily Mail.
As a Christian, Sutcliffe said he chose to avoid using male pronouns like ‘he’ and ‘him’ but would often simply address the student by name, which is consistent with the school’s policies.
“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,” Sutcliffe told British newspapers.
“I have balanced these factors by using the pupil’s chosen name, and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl’, I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl,” he continued.
The teacher apologized to the student immediately after the incident, noticing that his comment had caused distress.
“I feel vindicated by the government guidance but this means nothing if my ban is not now overturned,” Sutcliffe said in a statement.
“To continue to be barred from the profession I love in light of the draft guidance would be another of the many cruel injustices I have had to face for expressing my Christian beliefs,” he said.
“In 2017 there was no training and no guidance on these issues for teachers. I was a young teacher building my career in the profession at a time when schools were taking guidance from Stonewall, not the government or any experts on these issues,” Sutcliffe noted.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It’s now high time for justice for Joshua. The teaching ban must be lifted. He has been vindicated by the government guidance.”
“We can’t underestimate the chilling impact that the ruling in Joshua Sutcliffe’s case has. Teachers are intimidated into silence for fear of losing their jobs if they say something with which the regulator disagrees,” she continued.
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