A Christian teacher from Oxford, England is facing disciplinary action for referring to a pupil as a girl, although the student identifies as a boy.
Joshua Sutcliffe, who teaches math at a school in Oxfordshire, has been suspended and could be terminated from his job after the school had found following a week-long investigation that he had "misgendered" the pupil.
According to Daily Mail, the 27-year-old teacher had praised the pupil and a friend saying, "Well done girls," when he spotted them working hard.
He was corrected by the student and he immediately apologized, but he was reportedly suspended six weeks later after the pupil's mother had filed a complaint.
Sutcliffe, who is also a pastor at the Christ Revelation church in Oxford, had admitted that he avoided using male pronouns such as "he" and "him" and noted that he, along with other staff, had decided to use the pupil's chosen first name.
The pupil's family had also claimed that Sutcliffe had unfairly given the student a disproportionate number of detentions for poor behavior, but the claim was reportedly not upheld during the investigation.
The teacher had thought that the investigation would be brief and he would soon return to teaching.
However, he had been summoned for questioning twice, and he was sent a letter telling him to attend a formal disciplinary hearing this Wednesday, attended by the head and three governors.
"I have never been trained to deal with this sort of thing. I felt completely out of my depth and intimidated," he said.
Documents obtained by Daily Mail have indicated that the investigation also heard uncorroborated claims that the teacher had referred to the pupil as a "girl" in other occasions, and had inappropriately discussed religious issues in his math lessons, which he denies.
Sutcliffe noted that he had raised religious issues, such as the anniversary of the Reformation, in his general tutor group but not during math class.
Daily Mail noted that the tutor group had been shut down earlier this year, following complaints about homophobia because he had responded to a student's question about marriage by saying the Bible describes it as a being between a man and a woman.
He had told the senior staff conducting the investigation that he believes it was not wrong to call a person born a female a girl, but he maintained that he would never do that publicly because he was a professional. He also said that he did not feel that he should be forced to use the pronouns "he" and "him" as doing so would be a violation of his human rights.
A press release from the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Sutcliffe, had indicated that the school had not issued any formal instruction on how to refer to the student.
Speaking of the disciplinary process, the teacher said he was "distraught" and had been "reduced to tears," as teaching was his life.
"I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of seeing Christians, people like me, being marginalised in the public square, and our beliefs punished and silenced," he said according to Premier.