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Swindon teacher sacked after refusing to use pupil’s preferred pronouns without parental permission

Fury at ‘witch-hunt’ sacking of maths teacher who refused to use a teenage pupil’s preferred pronouns without obtaining parental permission first

  • Kevin Lister, 59, is taking legal action against his employers for unfair dismissal
  • A Swindon school sacked him after he refused to affirm pupil’s gender change
  • He said he would not refer to biologically female student, 17, with male pronouns
  • Lister claims he is a victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ for challenging ‘dangerous ideology’ 
  • He has received support from campaigners as well as Tory MP Danny Kruger 

A maths teacher has been sacked after refusing to affirm a pupil’s gender change because he wanted to first obtain the permission of the student’s parents.

Kevin Lister is taking legal action against his employers for unfair dismissal, claiming he is a victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ for challenging ‘dangerous transgender ideology’.

He has been backed by campaigners as well as Tory MP Danny Kruger, who said he was ‘very concerned’ because recent government guidance says the teacher had been within his rights to apply caution.

A maths teacher has been sacked after refusing to affirm a teenage pupil’s gender change because he wanted to first obtain the permission of the student’s parents (stock photo)

Mr Lister, a teacher at a school in Swindon, had enjoyed an unblemished 18-year teaching career before he was dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’ this month. 

He had refused to refer to a biologically female student, aged 17, by their preferred male name and he/him pronouns in A-level lessons.

The 59-year-old teacher told The Mail on Sunday he was concerned that the ‘out-of-the-blue’ request amounted to social transition, which could put the teen on a pathway to irreversible medical treatments.

‘I wanted at least to make sure that my student had parental support and was making an informed decision,’ he said. ‘As a parent myself, I would have been furious if my child had taken this step and I hadn’t been told anything.’

Mr Lister said he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he approached the safeguarding officers and was told the parents would not be informed about the student’s wish to identify as male in the classroom. The school’s guide to supporting transitioning students states that staff should ‘maintain confidentiality and only tell others about the person’s trans status with their permission’.

He has been backed by campaigners as well as Tory MP Danny Kruger, who said he was ‘very concerned’ because recent government guidance says the teacher had been within his rights to apply caution

He has been backed by campaigners as well as Tory MP Danny Kruger, who said he was ‘very concerned’ because recent government guidance says the teacher had been within his rights to apply caution

Mr Lister said he then found himself in an ‘impossible position’: ‘I ended up pointing to her as politely as I could to avoid either dead-naming her or supporting transition without parental consent.’ A few weeks later the student wanted to enter a female maths Olympiad.

Mr Lister said: ‘I put the names of the students on the board who wanted to take part and I put her name up on the board as being a female’s name to enter a female maths competition.’ 

Earlier this year, Mr Lister discovered some students had made accusations of transphobia against him and he was suspended in February, pending an inquiry, and escorted off the school grounds.

A disciplinary hearing last month upheld three complaints, namely that he had ‘subjected a gender-transitioning student’ to ‘transphobic discrimination’ and ‘harassment’ and ‘refused to use’ their preferred name and he/him pronouns.

Last month the then Attorney General, Suella Braverman, said the law was clear that under-18s could not legally change their gender, meaning schools were under no legal obligation to address children by a new pronoun

Last month the then Attorney General, Suella Braverman, said the law was clear that under-18s could not legally change their gender, meaning schools were under no legal obligation to address children by a new pronoun

He was also told in a letter earlier this month by the school’s vice-principal that he had ‘degraded’ the student by pointing in class and he was ‘insensitive’ by writing the female name on the board relating to the Olympiad.

The letter, which announced his dismissal, added: ‘We acknowledge that you are entitled to your beliefs, however, it is my view that your treatment of [the student] violated his dignity.’

Mr Lister has refuted the allegations against him, saying he was simply trying to protect his student’s welfare. 

Last month the then Attorney General, Suella Braverman, said the law was clear that under-18s could not legally change their gender, meaning schools were under no legal obligation to address children by a new pronoun.

Mr Kruger, MP for Devizes, Wiltshire, said: ‘I am very concerned that a school agreed to affirm a child’s transgender identity without parental consent.’

A spokesman for the school said: ‘We are unable to comment.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk