UK Teacher Sues School After Being Suspended for Misgendering Student

Joshua SutcliffePhoto: YouTube

Educator claims his Christian faith prevents him from correctly gendering a transgender student in a new lawsuit.

27-year-old Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher and Christian Pastor from Oxford, UK, is suing the school for constructive dismissal and discrimination after he claims he was suspended only for saying, “well done girls” to a group that included a transgender student who identifies as a boy. Sutcliffe, who teaches children between the ages of 11 and 18, claims the incident took place on November 2nd and that he apologized after the pupil became angry. The student’s parents lodged a formal complaint and Sutcliffe was suspended after a weeklong investigation by the school.

According to the parents who filed the complaint, Sutcliffe had misgendered the boy on several occasions, and they wouldn’t have filed the grievance had it not been an ongoing issue. They also claim that Sutcliffe had given their son a disproportionate number of detentions for bad behavior. Sutcliffe also admitted that he had tried to avoid using the student’s preferred male pronouns when addressing him, instead using only his name.

Sutcliffe is now using his religious faith to justify his actions.

In a letter to the school, he wrote:

"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."

Sutcliffe also claimed that the school had “systematically and maliciously” breached his rights:

“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.”

The legal action was taken through the Christian Legal Centre, which is the legal arm of the anti-LGBT activist group Christian Concern. The group has a history of lobbying against LGBT protections, same-sex adoptions, and defending conversion therapy tactics.

Comments
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Mila  Madison
Mila Madison

Editor

@Dragontail59 . The UK has the Data Protection Act, which is like HIPPA. I am not 100% sure if it covers this, but either way I think you make a great point.

Dragontail59
Dragontail59

One more thought... I'm not a teacher so I am not familiar with how a teaching contract might be worded however, I would be very surprised if there was a clause referring to the teachers right to practice his religious beliefs where his actions and behavior are a direct contradiction to his job responsibilities. As American citizens, we all enjoy the right of religeous freedom. The Puritans came to the new world in pursuit of that precious freedom. However, regardless of one's beliefs, a citizen does not have the right to violate the law of the land. You can't open fire in a gay night club just because you think gay people are sinners. When the world is free of religious fanaticism, the world will be on its way to freedom of hate. This teacher is ignorant. Take his teaching credentials. He obviously never learned how to teach.

Dragontail59
Dragontail59

I think that HIPPA is relevant to this issue. As an educator, isn't he required to not reveal anything to anybody regarding this students health. He is legally bound to protect the students privacy. Every professional who is legally bound to strict confidentiality must not say anything to anyone that reveals or even suggests a medical or psychiatric condition unless there is a specific release of information between parties. For example, I am bound by HIPPA. I'm may come into contact with the friend of the protected person who appears to know about his friends cancer. The friend starts talming with me about his friends cancer. In the communication, even though the friend obviously knows about the cancer, I can not confirm or acknowledge or agree with his knowledge by entering into the discussion with the knowledgeable friend. I can listen but I can not affirm his knowledge by agreeing that "Yes, it's sad that he's got cancer" or anything of a revealing nature. So, this teacher, by intentionally using the wrong pronouns in the presence of other students did announce his awareness of the students medical condition by intentionally verbalizing "information" in such a manner that it made his condition "known" or may suggest his transsexualism to others who did not had the right or need to know. It would be like a nurse saying "how is your chemo going" to a patient she ran into at the mall while there are unknowing people within earshot. Not OK. A clear violation of HIPPA. This teacher not only violated this students right to privacy but he did it several times with malicious intent fully knowing that if any other student didn't know, this boy was trans, they sure did now after hearing the teacher say she and her multiple times. This teacher should be terminated and sued for his breach of confidentiality. He hurt the boy and jeopardized the school in that, as an employee of the school board, the board itself owns partial responsibility for this breach of confidentiality and could be sued along with the teacher.

Mila  Madison
Mila Madison

Editor

If this teacher were purposely misgendering a cisgender student, everyone would see it as harassment. Should a transgender student not be afforded the same rights?