Kansas teacher suspended for not using transgender pronouns sues for violating religious beliefs

A Kansas Christian teacher has filed a lawsuit against her school district after she was suspended for choosing not to use a student’s transgender first name and pronouns.

Pamela Ricard, a math teacher at Fort Riley Middle School, was reprimanded and suspended in April 2021 for calling a student a “miss.” She was informed that the student no longer felt like a girl and was now using different pronouns and a different first name.

Ricard said referring to students by anything other than their biological sex violates his religious beliefs.

Neither the school nor the Geary County School District had formal guidelines on gender pronouns at the time, but Ricard was still accused of violating the school’s bullying, diversity and inclusion policies. district.

Shortly after Ricard’s suspension, the college principal issued new training materials to staff members, requiring them to use students’ preferred names and pronouns.

The teacher filed a lawsuit on March 7 and filed a complaint in US District Court.

According to the court case, Ricard repeatedly asked to receive a religious exemption from the policy, but his requests were denied.

Last September, the school district school board adopted a policy requiring teachers to use students’ preferred nouns and pronouns. The lawsuit points out that the school district threatened further disciplinary action against Ricard if she did not comply with the new policies or chose to use gender-neutral language.

Ricard is suing the school board, Superintendent Reginald Eggleston and Fort Riley Middle School Principal Kathleen Brennan. The lawsuit states that the actions taken against the teacher violate her constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

“Our lawsuit argues that schools cannot force teachers to promote new views on gender fluidity and ever-expanding pronoun categories without regard to the First Amendment or due process,” said Josh Ney, l one of Ricard’s lawyers. “Throughout her career, Ms. Ricard has always treated every student in her class with respect and dignity; unfortunately, the school district has not treated Ms. Ricard with the same basic good faith or fairness.”

The math teacher is asking for “symbolic damages” and the erasure of her disciplinary file.

Cases like Ricard’s have become common over the past year where teachers refuse to dishonor their religious beliefs by calling children by their new favorite pronouns.

CBN News previously reported that a northern Virginia physical education teacher was furloughed after saying he would not assert students’ transgender identities.

Tanner Cross battled the Loudoun County School Board for nearly a year after being suspended from teaching because of his religious beliefs. He won his case in November.

Another Virginia teacher quit her job at a school board meeting in August because she strongly opposed several issues, including transgender policies and critical race theory. She argued that “politicized agendas” were imposed on staff and students.

Another Virginia teacher, Peter Vlaming, was fired for refusing to call a transgender student by his preferred pronoun. His case is currently before the Supreme Court of the State of Virginia.

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