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Florida Judge Stands Behind Teacher Who Refused To Use Transgender Student’s Preferred Pronouns

A Florida judge supported a teacher from Miami-Dade County after she reportedly refused to use a transgender student’s preferred pronouns, CBS News reports.

Judge John Van Laningham recommended the state Education Practices Commission exonerate Yojary E. Mundaray, a former teacher at Jose de Diego Middle School, after being fired in June 2020 for the incident. Records show in December 2019, Mundaray was disciplining the student for “routine classroom horseplay,” according to the judge. The student, who was born female, privately pulled the teacher aside and let her know that he was trans and preferred using masculine pronouns.

Mundaray then said, “I’m a Christian, and my God made no mistakes,” according to the ruling. “I think God made a mistake,” the student replied.

Florida law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, established a school policy that states “a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.” While Mundaray was accused of pinning her religious views on the student, Van Laningham reversed the claim and, in his ruling, wrote that the “case is not about proselytizing but about transgender ideologies.”

The judge even referred to the student by “Pat” and with female pronouns. “Given that Mundaray made no attempt to force Pat to accept, conform to, or even acknowledge any Christian doctrine, the allegation that she imposed her personal religious views on Pat is untrue,” Van Laningham wrote.

During the ruling, according to the Daily Mail, Van Laningham referred to transgender people and their supporters as members of a “new secular faith.” “Advocates of transgenderism can be as doctrinaire as religious zealots these days,” he wrote.

According to the outlet, Van Laningham has been criticized for his ruling tactics, leading him to be suspended for five days after he questioned a fellow judge’s ruling, questioning if their comments could be considered “ex-parte communications” banned by Florida law.