Vlaming v. West Point School Board et al, No. 3:2019cv00773 - Document 37 (E.D. Va. 2020)

Court Description: OPINION. Signed by District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. on 08/19/2020. (walk, )
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Vlaming v. West Point School Board et al Doc. 37 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 1 of 18 PageID# 662 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA Richmond Division PETER VLAMING, Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-773 WEST POINT SCHOOL BOARD,et al. Defendants. OPINION From 2012 to 2018,Peter Vlaming taught French at West Point Public Schools. During a class exercise in 2018, Vlaming referred to John Doe,' a transgender male student, by female pronouns. Shortly thereafter, the West Point School Board ("the School Board") suspended Vlaming and ordered him to refer to Doe by male pronouns. When Vlaming refused, the School Board fired him. Vlaming sued the School Board and three School Board members in their official capacities^ in the King William County Circuit Court, alleging that the School Board violated the 'Doe, a minor, has moved to proceed as "John Doe" because of the significant privacy concerns this case implicates. Vlaming asks the Court to require Doe to proceed as "Student Doe." Essentially, Vlaming argues that, if the Court were to allow Doe to proceed as "John," the Court would be agreeing with the defendants' theory ofthe case. That argument lacks merit and makes little sense. Because the Court will remand the case, it will not reach the substance of the motion to intervene. Thus, Vlaming will suffer no prejudice if the Court grants Doe's motion. Further, Vlaming's position suggests that the Court cannot refer to Doe using pronouns at all without making a final decision about the case. It is more efficient to allow Doe to proceed under one name and by his preferred pronouns. Moreover,common sense dictates that a court's decision on a procedural motion neither suggests how it will rule on a dispositive motion nor prohibits a court from revisiting that decision should the parties proceed to trial. Finally, whether Doe has a right to identify as a male is not before the Court. Because Doe is a minor and this case raises significant privacy concerns associated with revealing Doe's name and initials to the general public,the Court will grant the motion for leave to proceed under a pseudonym in this Court. ^ Laura Abel, Division Superintendent; Jonathan Hochman, West Point High School Principal; and Suzanne Aunspach, West Point High School Assistant Principal. 1 Dockets.Justia.com Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 2 of 18 PageID# 663 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 3 of 18 PageID# 664 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 4 of 18 PageID# 665 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 5 of 18 PageID# 666 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 6 of 18 PageID# 667 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 7 of 18 PageID# 668 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 8 of 18 PageID# 669 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 9 of 18 PageID# 670 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 10 of 18 PageID# 671 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 11 of 18 PageID# 672 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 12 of 18 PageID# 673 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 13 of 18 PageID# 674 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 14 of 18 PageID# 675 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 15 of 18 PageID# 676 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 16 of 18 PageID# 677 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 17 of 18 PageID# 678 Case 3:19-cv-00773-JAG Document 37 Filed 08/19/20 Page 18 of 18 PageID# 679