Joshua Sutcliffe, a 27-year-old teacher from Oxford, U.K., has been suspended after “misgendering” one of his students.
According to several outlets, the misgendering took place when Sutcliffe saw two students working together, and commented: “Well done, girls.” After one of the students informed Sutcliffe that they identified as male, the teacher apologized.
Approximately six weeks later, the trans student’s mother issued a complaint, and Sutcliffe was suspended pending an investigation.
Sutcliffe, who serves as a pastor at Christ Revelation Church, told The Daily Mail that because of his beliefs, he prefers not to use “him/he” pronouns when referring to the student. Additionally, he claims that he was not given instructions regarding how to handle the pronoun issue with this specific transgender student when they were transferred into his class. In order to rectify the situation, Sutcliffe began referring to the student using their first name. The math teacher believed that this compromise was both respectful of his beliefs as well as the student’s personal integrity.
However, The Daily Mail claims to be privy to documents indicating the Oxford teacher is also being investigated for using a student’s first name instead of “him/he” pronouns.
The teacher was also allegedly investigated for misgendering on several other occasions, and making religious references during his math class. Sutcliffe says both allegations are untrue.
Sutcliffe told The Daily Mail that he spoke about the anniversary of the Reformation during one of his tutor groups, and that he used to hold a bible class during lunch. However, the class was ended when he answered a student’s questions about same-sex marriage in a biblical fashion.
The math teacher insisted that he always does his best to respect his students and behave in a professional manner, but he feels the school is attempting to make him “adhere to its liberal, Leftish agenda.”
During a contentious interview on Monday with ITV’s Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Willoughby read the conclusion of the investigation which found that Sutcliffe’s “misgendering of a pupil and avoidance of using gendered pronouns contravenes the school’s code of conduct with regard to demonstrating an awareness of sexual and cultural diversity of students and use of insensitive comments towards young people, and the use of religious comments in maths lessons demonstrates a failure to comply with school policy.”
Sutcliffe had previously responded to the conclusion while speaking with The Daily Mail, noting that while the idea of gender fluidity contravenes his faith, he always respects his students, and in order to strike a balance, used the student’s name rather than “him/he” pronouns. He added that this investigation is just one more example of “Christians being marginalised in the public square.”
According to the BBC, Sutcliffe will face “an internal disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.”
Here’s the ITV interview with Joshua Sutcliffe: