Christian teacher who ‘misgendered’ pupil banned from profession
A government agency has banned a Christian Mathematics teacher from his profession indefinitely after he “misgendered” a pupil in the classroom. In the first case of its kind in the UK, Joshua Sutcliffe, 33, was reprimanded for “unprofessional conduct” and “bringing the profession into disrepute” after he refused to use the preferred pronouns of a The post Christian teacher who ‘misgendered’ pupil banned from profession appeared first on Catholic Herald.
A government agency has banned a Christian Mathematics teacher from his profession indefinitely after he “misgendered” a pupil in the classroom.
In the first case of its kind in the UK, Joshua Sutcliffe, 33, was reprimanded for “unprofessional conduct” and “bringing the profession into disrepute” after he refused to use the preferred pronouns of a female student who identified as transgender.
The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) professional conduct panel, backed by the Department for Education acting on behalf of Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, banned Mr Sutcliffe from teaching in any capacity indefinitely.
Following a seven-day hearing, the TRA recommended a prohibition order removing Mr Sutcliffe from the classroom.
The agency concluded “that a prohibition order is proportionate and in the public interest” in order to maintain “confidence in the profession”.
The TRA judgment said that he not only refused to refer to a girl as a boy but also failed to show “full remorse” for doing so.
The ruling issued on behalf of the Government said: “This means that Mr Joshua Sutcliffe is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
“He may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until 2025, two years from the date of this order at the earliest. This is not an automatic right to have the prohibition order removed.
“If he does apply, a panel will meet to consider whether the prohibition order should be set aside. Without a successful application, Mr Joshua Sutcliffe remains prohibited from teaching indefinitely.”
Mr Sutcliffe said: “I am devastated by the panel’s ruling and will appeal.
“Based on this ruling, every teacher is at risk if they share their beliefs and views in the classroom.
“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.
“The TRA wanted me to capitulate and say that I was wrong. I have been mercilessly punished for refusing to do so.
“Indoctrinating children across the country to celebrate and promote Pride, to fly the Pride flag is celebrated, but if Christian beliefs are raised or expressed in the classroom, you face having your career and life torn apart.
“I have been bullied and pursued and have had every part of my life scrutinised for expressing my Christian faith and biological truth.”
He added: “This decision is putting my family and I at risk. I have a young son and everything that is happening is affecting him.
“Mathematics has always been a great joy of mine; my teaching record is exemplary, and I was always respectful to everyone. From the beginning, however, this case has not been about my ability to teach but about me being a Christian and believing in the gospel and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
The action follows his suspension and subsequent dismissal from The Cherwell School in Oxford in 2017 for gross misconduct for allegedly “misgendering” a female student, “Pupil A” who self-identified as a boy.
Confronted by the demands of his conscience to respect the truth, he decided to call the pupil only by her name and to try not to use pronouns.
According to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which represented him, he had been given no warning or guidelines on how to deal with the child.
In spite of the settlement of a legal claim he made against the school, he was brought before a professional conduct panel of the TRA, which also investigated a complaint that he said, in response to a question from a student, that he did not believe in same-sex marriage.
The TRA found that by “misgendering” Pupil A, Mr Sutcliffe had shown her “a lack of dignity and respect”.
The panel sided with the evidence from the pupils who gave evidence for the TRA to conclude that “on the balance of probabilities” it was proved that Mr Sutcliffe had repeatedly “misgendered” Pupil A, which he denied.
Evidence was also accepted by the panel that Mr Sutcliffe had “misgendered” Pupil A on another occasion in the classroom when he was alleged to have said: “I borrowed her calculator.”
The panel concluded: “Given the evidence of the pupils that Mr. Sutcliffe had failed to use Pupil A’s pronoun on various occasions, and Mr Sutcliffe’s own admission that he had failed to use pupil A’s pronoun on one occasion, the panel found that it was more probable than not that Mr Sutcliffe had failed to use Pupil A’s preferred pronoun in the classroom during teaching on one or more occasions.
“The panel therefore concluded on balance that by failing to use pupil A’s preferred pronouns, Mr Sutcliffe had failed to uphold Pupil A’s dignity and respect and failed to safeguard Pupil A’s wellbeing.”
The allegation that Mr Sutcliffe had said that he disagreed with gay marriage was also found to be proven by the panel, but did not constitute a failure to safeguard pupils.
The TRA described him as “intolerant” and said that taken as a whole it was “satisfied that Mr. Sutcliffe was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.
The panel made the ruling ahead of the imminent publication of new government guidelines on transgender issues in schools.
In January, the Daily Telegraph reported that the guidelines are likely to advise teachers and schools that allowing pupils to “socially transition” and use preferred pronouns contrary to their sex, can cause “major psychological harm”.
The panel also rejected expert evidence from Maya Forstater, Sex Matters executive director, a Christian theologian and backing from parents and pupils taught by Mr Sutcliffe.
One parent, whose daughter had been tutored by Mr Sutcliffe, told the panel: “Joshua was very good at his job and teaching. Patient, kind and considerate, he was respectful and good at explaining things. My daughter enjoyed being taught by him and it was a very positive experience.
“I have never witnessed him being unkind to anyone.”
Another parent, whose son has been tutored by Mr Sutcliffe for five years said: “Joshua helped my son become an A* student for GCSE Maths. Joshua has never been inappropriate in any way. He is a gentleman, he is considerate, he is trustworthy, professional and good at time keeping. He is like a mentor to my son. He is very focused on tutoring my son to make sure he really understands Maths.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the CLC, said: “This is a tipping point. The Government needs to step in and restore some sanity into the teaching profession. Similar action needs to be taken regarding the Teaching Regulation Agency.
“I am very concerned by the way regulatory bodies are now punishing Christian teachers simply for stating the truth.
“The Christian viewpoint on sexual ethics and morality is no longer being tolerated in the classroom and teachers who openly express it are having their ability to teach removed by the regulatory body. This is serious and sinister.
“Removal from teaching usually involves serious misconduct and the crossing of boundaries such as teachers having sexual affairs with pupils or some serious criminal activity. Nothing could be further from Joshua’s situation.
“From the beginning, Joshua has faced viewpoint discrimination from the schools, the TRA and now the Secretary of State.
“The TRA has targeted an exceptional teacher because his Christian beliefs do not fall in line with the new LGBTQ moral code which will not tolerate any dissent. This is deeply illiberal.
“The backing of the panel’s recommendations by the Secretary of State is baffling considering the urgent concern coming from the government about the extent of transgender ideology and harmful gender identity teaching in UK schools.
“For loving Jesus, speaking truth in his personal time, and responding to questions from students on the Christian faith, he has been hounded out of the teaching profession. Joshua will appeal, and we will stand with him for as long as it takes to get justice.”
(Photo of Joshua Sutcliffe courtesy of Christian Concern)
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