Kansas Teacher Suspended And Sued For Not Using Pronouns

A Kansas school district is accused of suspending and reprimanding a teacher for “discrimination and harassment” after she refused to use a student’s preferred first name and gender pronouns.

The teacher also was denied a religious exemption to the district’s required practice.

The allegation comes in a federal lawsuit filed Monday against USD 475 Geary County School District and the principal of Fort Riley Middle School in Fort Riley. It is filed on behalf of Pamela Ricard, a “decades-long” teacher assigned to the school since 2005.

Ricard was reprimanded and suspended three days in April 2021 “for addressing a biologically female student by the student’s legal and enrolled last name,” according to the lawsuit, in an apparent attempt to avoid using the student’s preferred first name. That name is not disclosed in the court filing, but a classmate has said the student preferred “he/him” pronouns.

The lawsuit says Ricard is a devout Christian who believes gender is assigned by God at conception, and that “any policy that requires Ms. Ricard to refer to a student by a gendered, non-binary, or plural pronoun … or other gendered language that is different from the student’s biological sex actively violates Ms. Ricard’s religious beliefs.”

Ricard requested a religious accommodation three times during an appeal of her discipline. In a closed meeting last August with the Board of Education, Ricard explained that her addressing the student as “Miss (last name)” was intended to be respectful while also protecting Ricard’s religious beliefs.

When the board later denied her appeal without a public vote, the Kansas Attorney General’s office warned the district that it had violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act. The board then denied Ricard’s appeal in a public vote at its September meeting.

The district never did offer a possible accommodation of Ricard’s religious beliefs, the suit says. Instead, the board voted at the September meeting to approve a policy mandating the use of student-preferred names and pronouns. At the time of Ricard’s discipline last spring, the district didn’t have such a formal policy.

According to the lawsuit, the district and school “now threaten to punish Ms. Ricard again if she continues to refrain from using a student’s preferred pronouns, express her views through silence or neutral language, or even engage in a neutral policy of referring to students by their enrolled last names or with other gender-neutral language. Under district policies, all teachers must now refer to each student – both in and out of class – using whatever names or pronouns the student claims reflect his or her particular gender identity on any given day.”

A school counselor had informed Ricard by email of the student’s new preferred name, though the lawsuit says the email continued to address the student as “she.” That spring, the suit says, school administrators had sent teachers a directive to use students’ preferred names.

In addition, a week after Ricard’s three-day suspension and reprimand last April, the lawsuit says, the principal sent teachers “training documents on diversity training on gender identity and gender expression,” as well as protocols on the use of preferred names and pronouns.

The lawsuit says teachers were told in the training documents that failure to use students’ preferred names and pronouns “would constitute a discriminatory act subject to employee discipline” and would be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet, the suit says, other examples of teachers having “failed or forgotten” to use preferred names and pronouns have occurred during the current school year but have not been subject to disciplinary action.

All of the district’s directives, the lawsuit contends, are “for the purpose of lending credence to cultural ideas Ms. Ricard does not share or wish to advance that are contrary to her core religious beliefs.”

The lawsuit says the district’s and school’s actions have deprived Ricard of her First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, as well as her rights to due process and equal protection of the law. In addition, it says, Ricard is concerned for her students’ well-being under the district’s policies:

“Ms. Ricard believes that, because of the difficulty of assessing matters of gender identity and the long-term irreversible consequences of certain treatments for transgender-identifying people, including puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and sex-reassignment surgery, children should not be encouraged to undertake social or medical transition because of their inability to assess long-term consequences.”

Ricard, a math teacher, also maintains “that parents have a fundamental right to control the upbringing and education of their children,” and that “any gender-identity education policy must account for this fundamental right.”

The lawsuit, filed by Kriegshauser Ney Law Group in Olathe, seeks a declaratory judgment that the defendants violated Ricard’s rights; injunctions against such violations; a purge of her disciplinary record; and “nominal damages” and attorneys’ fees.

“The school district disciplined Ms. Ricard not for something she said, but for something she couldn’t say,” one of her attorneys, Josh Ney, said in a statement.

The author has requested comment from a district spokesperson.

Original Article: https://www.realcleareducation.com/articles/2022/03/11/kansas_teacher_sues_after_being_punished_for_refusing_to_use_students_preferred_pronouns_110710.html

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8 comments

  1. No matter what augmentations you get or demand, no how much you try, no matter what you want and no matter the PC crowd, your DNA does not lie.

  2. This is not America and it is illegal to suspend or fire this teacher for doing her job. Some teachers are going against the parents and not telling them that their child is being groomed to be a transgender with name change. If I had a child in school today I don’t know what I would do but most likely would find another way tot each them. This is not America but the far left democrat/communist party is following the coup obama started to overthrow our government and install communism.

  3. Disgusting! America is in a state of turmoil!
    If parents wants their kid to be a gender they
    were not born; that is your prerogative; but,
    don’t try to convince others that they should be
    acceptable of your choice. Why would you want
    to change your child’s gender in the first place?
    You should be glad your child was born healthy
    and thank God each day for that blessing!

  4. Replace all school board members and bar them from any other public or political office. Mrs Kaiserman, I commend and agree 100% with your outlook and insight as to the cause being Obumer and his attempt to install communism in this country. I hold the belief he was not born in this country and Sleepy Joe Biden stole the election. As both were illegal their time in office should be removed from the record. The SCOTUS could then be tasked with the power to nullify and reverse laws enacted going against the majority of the population.

  5. This is total BS. We are pussifing our children and you have left wing wack jobs allowing this perversion to go on. God Identified them when they were born. It isn’t up to them to change that. We have allowed our country to be led by stupid people. Just because they are college educated doesn’t mean they have a brain upstairs. Most of them these day make it thru because of Google. They cheat. We need to take back our country and our wchools.

  6. There is a simple answer to this. Give the rows of desks a letter and the seats a number. So – -you a5 what is the answer. Or simply throw a dog turd at the student you want.

  7. As the Queen song says:
    Oh ev’ry night and every day
    A little piece of you is falling away
    But lift your face the western way
    Build your muscles as your body decays yeah

    Toe your line and play their game yeah
    Let the anaesthetic cover it all
    Till one day they call your name
    You know it’s time for the Hammer To Fall

    Rich or poor or famous
    For your truth it’s all the same (oh no oh no)

    For we who grew up tall and proud
    In the shadow of the mushroom cloud
    Convinced our voices can’t be heard
    We just wanna scream it louder and louder louder

    What the hell we fighting for?
    Just surrender and it won’t hurt at all
    You just got time to say your prayers
    While you’re waiting for the hammer the Hammer To Fall

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