Press Release: NAS Files Amicus Brief in Vlaming v. West Point School Board

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; November 24, 2021 – The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Peter Vlaming’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia. Vlaming was fired in 2018 by the West Point School Board for declining to refer to a female student by male pronouns. He is now suing the school board for violating his rights under the Virginia Constitution and commonwealth law. Vlaming is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Vlaming taught French for seven years in the West Point School District. He was ultimately fired for stating that “he couldn’t in good conscience comply” with the superintendent’s order to cease “avoiding the use of male pronouns.”

“This case, and many like it, show the extent to which gender ideology is threatening the intellectual freedom of everyday Americans,” stated NAS president Peter Wood. “This type of persecution is often reserved for college professors; now it is trickling down to our K-12 classrooms and into everyday life.”

The NAS amicus brief argues for freedom of conscience: the same freedom given to those who choose not to use traditional pronouns should be given to those who do. Unfortunately, those who subscribe to gender ideology are attempting to compel the speech of others in an effort to change culture through language. The NAS brief explains:

Such an attempt is coercive by nature. While speakers of Standard English can tolerate nonstandard usage, proponents of the new ideology demand not just assent, but conformity. This is because they aim not just to feel better about themselves as individuals, but to impose their views on the culture by reforming the language.

Pronouns are small, overlooked pieces of the English language. Nevertheless, the grafting of pronouns into the politics of the feminist movement in the 1970s drew increasing attention to the usage of the generic he because feminists believed it encoded a sexist preference. More recently, the transgender and gender queer movements have abandoned Standard English pronouns for novel third person pronouns. The practice of referring to biological males or females with the corresponding male or female pronouns is now, evidently, a statement of political or religious affiliation.

Dr. Wood added, “Pronouns communicate the reality of a person. To use he or she is to convey something about what and who that person is: in this case a male or a female. Vlaming believes that males and females exist and therefore uses masculine and feminine pronouns that match an individual’s biological sex. For the school district to force him to do otherwise would be to ask Vlaming to deny reality.”


Image: Morgan Riley, Public Domain

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