The United Kingdom’s Department of Education has banned math teacher Joshua Sutcliffe from teaching for at least two years, and possibly indefinitely, for misgendering a student.
In 2017, Sutcliffe was teaching at Cherwell School, a secondary school in Oxford, England. During a lesson, he praised a group of pupils by saying “well done, girls.” One of the students, identified as “Pupil A,” was a biological female who identified as a boy. The student became irate. Sutcliffe, who had received no guidance on how to refer to Pupil A, immediately apologized.
But the school launched an investigation, during which Sutcliffe was prevented from teaching and forced to spend his time in the staff room. He was subsequently suspended and dismissed.
Sutcliffe then worked for more than a year at St. Aloysius RC College in North London but felt forced to resign over views he posted on his personal YouTube channel.
But the government’s Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) continued to investigate Sutcliffe, which led to a seven-day hearing earlier this year. The TRA’s panel considered several allegations against Sutcliffe, dismissing some of them but concluding: “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.”
In its recommendation to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, the panel described Sutcliffe as intolerant and said it was “satisfied that Mr. Sutcliffe was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.”
Acting on behalf of Keegan, TRA chief executive Alan Meyrick said that Sutcliffe had expressed insufficient levels of remorse over misgendering Pupil A.
In response to the ruling, Sutcliffe issued the following statement:
“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. 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 in gender confusion in the classroom is psychologically damaging for them. I refuse to go against my conscience and cause a child harm and refuse to apologize for that. …
“Indoctrinating children across the country to bow before the Pride flag is celebrated, but if Christian beliefs are raised or expressed in the classroom, you can face having your career and life torn apart.
“I have been bullied and pursued and have had every part of my life scrutinized for expressing my beliefs and biological truth. This decision is putting me and my family 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.”
Sutcliffe is being represented by the Christian Legal Centre.
Photo: Christian Concern