New York, NY; December 18, 2023—The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has received word that the case Peter Vlaming v. West Point School Board, et al has been decided by the Virginia Supreme Court in favor of Vlaming. NAS filed an amicus curiae brief in November 2021 supporting Vlaming, a high school French teacher, after his employment was unlawfully terminated. For context,
Vlaming claims that he lost his job not because of something he had said—but because of what his conscience would not allow him to say. In class, Vlaming referred to a transgender student by the student’s preferred name and avoided the use of third-person pronouns when referring to the student. Vlaming claims that the School Board ordered him to use government-mandated pronouns in addition to using the student’s preferred name. The School Board fired Vlaming for refusing to do so.
In an opinion handed down by Justice D. Arthur Kelsey on December 14, 2023, the consensus declared, "Examining only the allegations in Vlaming’s complaint, the circuit court dismissed Vlaming’s claims, finding that they failed to state legally viable causes of action. Disagreeing with the circuit court, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.”
This ruling is a win for intellectual freedom in the K-12 arena. The actions taken by the West Point School Board against Vlaming aren’t a singular occurrence, as pervasive gender ideology steadily encroaches upon the mores of academia. As NAS argued in the amicus curiae brief, “For a teacher to speak according to his conscience and best academic judgment is not wrongful, invidious discrimination; it is an exercise in academic freedom, and as such it must be protected.”
The Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling reinforces the enduring importance of safeguarding intellectual freedom within the educational landscape, ensuring that teachers can fulfill their roles as educators while upholding their deeply held beliefs.
NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.
If you would like more information about this issue, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].
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