A Christian teacher has been banned from his job for not using trans pronouns and “misgendering” a pupil. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Joshua Sutcliffe, 33, was previously suspended for addressing a transgender boy as ‘her’.
He says he’s ‘devastated’ to be banned from his job.
Sutcliffe, former maths teacher at Cherwell Secondary School, Oxford was dismissed for ‘misgendering’ a child in 2017 after he said, “Well done girls” to his students during a maths lesson. Sutcliffe claimed this was not intentional and swiftly apologised.
Sutcliffe however, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and “bringing the profession into disrepute” by the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) after he failed to use a biological female pupil’s preferred pronouns of ‘he/him’.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Sutcliffe plans to appeal the ruling.
Sutcliffe was also challenged by the TRA for comments he made about same-sex marriage, at a Christian Union (CU) meeting and online.
Whilst working at St Aloysius RC College in North London, Sutcliffe was criticised for videos found on YouTube in which he expressed his Christian views and reflections on the Bible.
Following a seven-day hearing, the Secretary of State for Education ruled that Sutcliffe would be prohibited from teaching in any capacity for at least two years and potentially indefinitely.
Mr Sutcliffe, an evangelical Christian, claimed it was a “slip of the tongue” when he had misgendered Pupil A in class, and that other comments he had made about homosexuality had been in Bible class and not during maths lessons.
And during the hearing his lawyer argued “that Pupil A did not have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment, and that there is no legal requirement to use preferred pronouns”.
But the panel described Sutcliffe as “intolerant” and said it was satisfied he was “guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.” The TRA concluded that by refusing to use preferred pronouns and show “full remorse” for doing so, that they “have had to consider the matter from the point of view of an “ordinary intelligent and well-informed citizen.”
Sutcliffe said that he was devastated by the panel’s ruling and would appeal.
“I was told ‘call her a him’. I couldn’t go along with it”, he said.
“Based on this ruling, every teacher is at risk if they share their beliefs and views in the classroom. If a teacher had shown or recommended a video from a liberal YouTube platform, would they have been treated as I have?
“I believe affirming children who are in gender distress in the classroom is psychologically damaging for them. I refuse to go against my conscience and cause a child harm and cannot apologise for that.”
Sutcliffe, who claims he’s been “bullied” because of his faith, says children are “indoctrinated” by Pride events, “but if Christian beliefs are raised or expressed in the classroom, you face having your career and life torn apart.”
(Picture Courtesy: Christian Legal Centre)