Another example of how conservatives can use legal systems to resist progressives’ attempts at imposing their gender identity ideology in the classroom has been provided by a Kansas Christian teacher. It is clear that the far leftist push for indoctrinating children is not an unstoppable Leviathan but a giant that can bleed.
The Kansas City Star published an article about a Christian educator who sued her school district for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a student. She won a $95,000 settlement this week. Pamela Ricard (58), a teacher at Fort Riley Middle School, was represented by attorneys from the Alliance for Defending Freedom. They called it a victory for free speech in public schools.
Tyson Langhofer is the director of Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Academic Freedom.
“We are pleased to settle the case in favor of Pam and hope it will encourage schools districts across the country, to support the constitutionally protected right of teachers to teach and to communicate honestly with parents and children.”
Ricard refused to use one of her preferred pronouns because she believed that the student was transgender. In March, Ricard filed a lawsuit stating that she addressed the child by the student’s legal and registered last name.
Ricard was shocked when the student said she identified as male now. The teacher called her miss and used her last name instead of her first to avoid calling her preferred name. According to the educator, her religious beliefs prevented her from consenting to the student’s request. Her lawyer explained that her last name is “a formal way to address students or get their attention.”
Ricard was also required by the district to keep Ricard’s parents in the dark about Ricard’s social transformation. This is a common policy across school districts throughout the country. Ricard instructed her to use the child’s preferred name in class, but her legal name when she spoke with the parents.
Geary County School District did not have any policies that required teachers to use preferred pronouns. Fox4 reports that the school started issuing “diversity and Equity” training and emails to teachers directing them to use the students’ “preferred name” instead of their legal or enrolled names during the spring semester of 2021.
Ricard was suspended by the district in March 2021 for three consecutive days because she refused to use the preferred pronouns of the student. Ricard was warned by the leadership that she would face further discipline if she continued to “misgender” the student.
The teacher had requested an exemption from the religious aspects of the new policy. The lawsuit stated that the district denied her request.
Ricard retired later in May. The district released a statement stating that Ricard was “in good standing and had not been subject to any discipline.”
After the settlement, the case was dismissed.
Joshua Ney, ADF attorney, stated that the Geary County School District tried unsuccessfully to convince a federal judge that a teacher should not use a child’s child’s name in a parent-teacher conference to conceal new names or genders being used in a classroom. The federal court is not the place for deceit and absurdity. I am glad that the case clarifies the financial implications for school boards, especially if they try to force teachers to lie about their students to parents.
This is the most important part. As I have said many times, the legal system is an effective tool to combat attempts to force woke ideologies on students, teachers, and staff. Districts might be less likely to push their ideas on children and teachers when they are faced with the real possibility of losing money if they get into trouble with the wrong person.