A Christian teacher has been banned from teaching in England after accidentally “misgendering” a student and being honest about his position on gay marriage when a student asked.
The United Kingdom’s Teaching Regulation Authority, which deals with serious misconduct while regulating teaching, ruled that 33-year-old former math teacher Joshua Sutcliffe failed to treat a student with “dignity and respect” by “misgendering” a female student who claims to be a male, according to a Tuesday statement from Sutcliffe’s attorneys at the Christian Legal Centre.
The incident referenced in the ruling occurred when Sutcliffe praised a group of students using the phrase, “well done, girls.” The teacher noted that his comment was accidental and he had immediately apologized for it, according to The Telegraph.
The U.K. Teaching Regulation Authority also claimed that Sutcliffe “failed to uphold Pupil A’s dignity and respect and failed to safeguard Pupil A’s wellbeing,” with Pupil A being the transgender student.
Citing the teacher’s admission that he had accidentally failed to use the pronoun that the student demanded he use, the regulatory body found that “it was more probable than not that Mr. Sutcliffe had failed to use Pupil A’s preferred pronoun in the classroom during teaching on one or more occasions.”
Sutcliffe responded to the ruling by announcing that planned to appeal, and pointing out that the decision puts teachers at risk just for speaking their mind.
“I am devastated by the panel’s ruling and will appeal,” Sutcliffe said. “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?”
The teacher was also accused of showing the class a PragerU video titled “Make Men Masculine Again,” but he has denied those claims. Nonetheless, the panel sided with the student — criticizing Sutcliffe for the unproven allegation and for stating his honest beliefs about gay marriage, though they did not sanction him for those comments.
By allegedly showing the PragerU video, the Christian teacher “failed to provide a balanced view or an opportunity for pupils to discuss any alternative views” and “failed to take a good account of potential negative impact on pupils who did not agree with all the claims of the views of masculinity portrayed in the video,” according to the panel.
Meanwhile, Sutcliffe believes that he is actually being targeted for his religious beliefs.
“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,” he said.
Ultimately, the panel ruled that Sutcliffe is “prohibited from teaching indefinitely” — but he will be able to appeal the ruling in 2025.