UK Teacher Punished Over ‘Slip of Tongue’ in ‘Misgendering’ Student Takes School to Employment Tribunal

OXFORD, U.K. — A math teacher in the U.K. who was recently punished for saying “Well done, girls” to a group of students in forgetting that one of the girls prefers to be identified as a boy has taken his case to an employment tribunal.

Following an investigation, Joshua Sutcliffe, an associate pastor at Christ Revelation Church in Oxford, was found to have “contravened the school’s equality policy” by “demonstrating discriminatory behaviors.” The suspended teacher was to have faced a disciplinary hearing, which was postponed as officials added on accusations of breach of confidence and bringing disrepute on the school for taking the matter public.

Sutcliffe has now written a letter to the headmaster of Cherwell School, where he has taught since 2015, to outline his grievances.

“As a Christian, I do not share your belief in the ideology of transgenderism. I do not believe that young children should be encouraged to self-select a ‘gender’ which may be different from their biological sex; or that everyone at school should adjust their behavior to accommodate such a ‘transition’; or that people should be punished for lack of enthusiasm about it,” he wrote.

“I am more than willing to answer all the unjustified allegations you are now advancing against me, and detail my own grievances about your totalitarian ‘equality’ policies and practices. However, I intend to do so before an independent tribunal, not before yourselves acting as a judge and jury in your own case,” Sutcliffe continued. “I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice.”

As previously reported, a complaint was filed against Sutcliffe on Nov. 2 after inadvertently remarking “Well done, girls” to a work group within his class as one of the female students identifies as a boy. Sutcliffe says that he was never advised by the school how to treat situations where a student identifies as the opposite sex, but tried to handle the matter with balance in not compromising his convictions but also not being inflammatory.

As he will not violate his Christian faith by referring to any student as something they are not—and he wasn’t sure what to do with the delicate situation—Sutcliffe carefully avoided using any pronouns at all. He simply referred to the student by her preferred name.

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“[I] refrained from using any pronouns because I wasn’t really sure [what to do],” Sutcliffe told the organization Christian Concern. “I know it’s a sensitive issue, and I didn’t want it to affect the learning environment.”

However, one day, he accidentally used the word “girls” in praising the math skills of some students in one of his classes.

“Well done, girls,” Sutcliffe complimented.

Sutcliffe said that he was simply encouraging the students for doing a good job and was not thinking about how the girl preferred to be identified as a boy. Although he apologized to the student for what he calls a “slip of the tongue,” the child’s parents filed a complaint and Sutcliffe was consequently suspended for “misgendering” the student.

According to the Daily Mail, the parents also claimed that Sutcliffe had given the student an inordinate number of detentions for improper behavior, but the assertion was not substantiated during the investigation that soon followed.

However, officials still concluded that Sutcliffe had violated the school’s equality policy by “misgendering” the student.

As part of his complaint before the employment tribunal, Sutcliffe contends that he was also treated unfairly in another matter as the Bible club that he ran at the school, which was attended by over 100 students, was shut down. Officials reportedly stated that it was because he needed to register and provide a curriculum, but the club was still not allowed to continue after Sutcliffe submitted the requested documentation. Sutcliffe says that, conversely, the LGBT, mindfulness and Qigong clubs were permitted to proceed although unregistered.

“All these events, starting from the suppression and termination of my Bible club and ending with these oppressive disciplinary proceedings against me, have convinced me that the school is fundamentally hostile to my Christian faith, and has breached the trust and confidence between us,” he wrote in his letter to headmaster Chris Price.

While the school has declined to comment on the case, Price told the Oxford Mail, “This school takes issues of equality and discrimination seriously, whether they be issues to do with religious belief or gender identity.”

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  • Michael C

    So we’ve gone from him claiming that it was a simple “slip of the tongue” to him now stating that he refuses to accept the policies set forth by the school concerning the treatment of transgender students?

    That’s quite the leap and if the latter is the case, the school should have the legal right to formally discipline this teacher.

    • CEDavidson

      He attempted to comply by using no pronouns at all, until he was disciplined for a slip of the tongue. Once attacked for an accidental slip, do you think he has no right to stand up for his own beliefs? I respect his choice, his statements and his dedication to his faith much more than a school that shuts down clubs that offend their own sensibilities, by claiming a failure to comply with documentation rules, while allowing other clubs that fit into the school’s political priorities to continue without them. Typical liberal logic, an oxymoron.

      • Michael C

        As of now, we only have one side of the story, his. There’s enough anti-trans rhetoric on his end to make me suspect that he isn’t necessarily telling the whole story.

        Had it been a simple slip of the tongue, had he apologized for it and made it clear that he was putting forth effort to comply with the school’s policies in treating students with the form of respect that they and their parents expect, I would be on his side.

        The more he talks, the more it seems that there’s more to the story than what he’s sharing.

        Politely using gender non-specific pronouns or simply referring to people by their names is a good way to be respectful to your transgender or gender non-conforming friends, coworkers, and family members.

  • bowie1

    I suppose now it will be well done everybody which should even cover the “theys”. Even our local newspaper in Peterborough, Ontario had one of “them” in a local news story. Someone with multiple personalities perhaps??

  • Tree Kangaroo

    Orwell was right. It’s a crime to call something what it is.

    LGBYXYZETC is fascistic to the core.

  • Robin Egg

    Slip of the tongue? He spoke the truth. I’m glad he’s standing up to these tyrants.

  • MCrow

    The way he speaks, he clearly had an agenda. He’s decided to politically grandstand instead of being a teacher. He should be punished.

  • xinthose

    Bravo for his courage against evil!

  • Reason2012

    So we’ve gone from “How will same-gender marriage affect you?” or “How will transgenderism affect you?” to a fascist, totalitarian enforcement of full promotion of their agenda and indoctrination of everyone else’s kids and grandkids into full acceptance and thinking it’s normal. People need to now suing them in return for their fascist intent for force everyone else to live in their anti-science, anti-Christ delusion under threat of life and liberty.

  • Drake

    Someone is doing whatever it can to undermine truth. Made up truth is falsehood, lie, deception, counterfeit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty. When someone portrays a falsehood as truth, and another is cited for failing to accept the falsehood, there is no foundation for law.

  • Rocky

    WE need to pray for this man, his family’s AND for the student and all involved. Only true love and The Source such can prevail in these matters.

  • Rocky

    Woe unto those who put evil for good and good for evil, it’s prophecied along with the love of many growing cold.