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.