A New Zealand teacher has been banned from teaching after refusing to respect the name and pronouns of a transgender student.
The teacher, whose name has been withheld from the media, taught math in high school, and was reported in February by a 14-year-old student. The student, a transgender boy, had their preferred name recorded with the school. The teacher not only refused to use it, but made every opportunity to refer to the student’s biological sex and their deadname. He also cornered the student in his office to lecture him that gender transition went against his (the teacher’s) Christian beliefs. The student tried to offer a compromise, telling the teacher he could still use she/her pronouns for him if he would just use his preferred name, but the teacher refused and accused the student of going “down a path of sin.”
After the student’s report, the teacher was brought before the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Teaching Council of Aotearoa. The panel consisted of a lawyer and two experienced teachers.
The New Zealand teacher argued that he was innocent of any misconduct while continuing to misgender and deadname the student. He even claimed that using the proper pronouns would be misconduct and child abuse, because it went against his “core Christian belief” which he claimed was “foundational for New Zealand.”
He moved on to making increasingly unrelated arguments about homosexuality and abortion, and compared pronouns to students wanting to identify as fictional characters or animals.
The tribunal said there was “no hesitation” that the teacher acted in serious misconduct.
“For a trusted adult teacher to not only ignore the student’s wishes and the instruction of the school but also to isolate them and advise them it was wrong, risked quite significant harm,” deputy chair Tim MacKenzie wrote in his decision.
“He is entitled to his views and religious beliefs,” the tribunal noted, while calling his arguments “unrealistic hysteria.” But those beliefs did not entitle him to remain a teacher, in a position to cause serious harm to students. His license to teach has been revoked, with no provisions to regain it.