A high school teacher fired after refusing to call a transgender student by preferred pronouns has now sued his former employer for $1 million.
Peter Vlaming, a former French teacher at West Point High School in Virginia, filed a lawsuit Monday saying the courtesy required of teachers constitutes a demand to lie, according to BuzzFeed News.
"Vlaming's conscience and religious practice prevents him from intentionally lying, and he sincerely believes that referring to a female as a male by using an objectively male pronoun is telling a lie," his lawsuit reads.
The West Point School Board voted 5-0 to fire Vlaming for refusing to follow orders to use preferred pronouns with a student, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported in December.
The case involved a ninth-grade student who had recently transitioned socially at school.
Vlaming told peers at the time his religion prevented him from using male pronouns for a student he saw as female. He complied with a request to use the student's new, preferred name. The refusal prompted a complaint from the child's family to administration.
"That discrimination then leads to creating a hostile learning environment. And the student had expressed that. The parent had expressed that," said West Point schools Superintendent Laura Abel at the time.
BuzzFeed reports the student ultimately withdrew from Vlaming's class based on his unwillingness to comply with the requests.
Vlaming's lawsuit demands $1 million in damages and a ruling that the school violated his right to free speech.
A spokesman for the district said the school "denies any liability to Mr. Vlaming, and we intend to vigorously defend against any claims."