A Colorado teacher was disciplined after suggesting to a transgender student that the rise in transgenderism is a “trend” that some come to regret, according to documents provided to the Daily Caller from the educator.
Jefferson County Public School teacher Phil Vagos underwent disciplinary action following an email exchange between himself and a transgender student. The student — a biological female who initially emailed Vagos begging for a second chance to pass his class — asked to be addressed using “he/him” pronouns “when in absence of parental figures,” according to the communications reviewed by the Daily Caller.
“I understand that my grade in your class is incredibly low and that I never truly got any important work done during the semester,” the student emailed Vagos. “With the end of the year being today, I realize my mistake and I’m asking you for an extended semester to make up the credits I have lost. I’m determined to work as hard and as efficiently in your course as I can, and have the motivation to participate in your class.”
Vagos responded using the student’s preferred name and said he removed a couple of “zero credit assignments” attributed to the student to pass the class. He went on to provide the student with information on detransitioners and wished the student the best of luck.
“And as much as I don’t want to interfere in anything that isn’t my business, given the P.S. of the email I thought it might be helpful for me to provide a link regarding the transitioning process that has become a recent trend among young people in the United States,” Vagos’ email read. “I typically wouldn’t do this, although you did mention that you are using an alternate name and gender outside of your parents’ presence, which tells me that this might not be the result of a consensus of agreement between you and them.”
“In any event, please forgive my presumptuousness on my part regarding this issue. But I am a firm believer in making fully informed decisions … especially when they may completely and permanently alter one’s life,” the teacher continued.
The email exchange took place in May of 2021, according to the emails. However, the district did not reprimand Vagos until a parent and student complained that the educator was not wearing a mask in the classroom and one student felt the teacher was too conservative.
Vagos underwent a formal grievance process with the district in December 2021. He was represented by the local teachers union, whose representatives use preferred pronouns in email signatures.
Jefferson County Public Schools sent Vagos a letter of reprimand arguing that he violated the district’s policy of “harassment of students based on sexual orientation.” Vagos was told he can no longer use the word “trend” when discussing transgender ideology, according to the reprimand letter.
“Your response to this student and the provision of this link imparts a lack of support and reduces a student’s self-identification as being transgendered as a “trend” rather than something real the student is experiencing,” the letter read.
A substitute teacher was provided in Vagos’ absence as he underwent a “Gender Inclusion 101” training provided by the Jefferson County Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team. Videos from the training included “Avery’s Story,” “Mom, I’m Not A Girl: Raising a Transgender Child,” and “What is a Gender Inclusive School?” Another training was provided by “Gender Spectrum.”
Vagos has been at Conifer High School in Jefferson County for 15 years and described himself as a “fairly outspoken conservative at the school.” He is actively involved in sponsoring a Young America’s Foundation club at the school. (RELATED: America Has More Transgender Youth Than Ever, Study Says)
Jefferson County Public Schools began instructing teachers in 2021 not to inform parents if their child shows persistent signs of gender confusion, according to the district’s “Toolkit for Supporting Transgender & Gender Expansive/Nonconforming Students.”
The guide tells educators to inform parents about persistent gender confusion “at the elementary level, though the standards shift for students in middle and high school. The guide claims that in some cases notifying a child’s parent can lead to a child being kicked out of the home.
“In some cases, notifying parents/guardians carries risk for the student, such as being kicked out of the home,” the guide reads. “Prior to notification of any parent/guardian or guardian regarding the transition process, school staff should work closely with the student to assess the degree, if any, the parent/guardian will be involved in the process and must consider the health, well-being, and safety of the student in transition.”
Jefferson County Public Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.