A teacher who worked in a Kansas school district has been awarded $95,000 in a settlement after being reprimanded for refusing to address a student by their preferred name and pronouns, according to a release from the teachers legal team.
According to KCUR, an NPR affiliate in Kansas City, Pamela Ricard was suspended for three days from her math teaching role at Fort Riley Middle School in April 2021.
She was suspended because she addressed a student by their “legal and enrolled last name”, while refusing to use a preferred alternative.
Ricard’s attorneys are quoted as saying that this is not only a win for Ricard, but also “a victory for free speech at public schools.”
Ricard was defended by attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which describes itself as an “alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.”
The Director of The Alliance Defending Freedom, Tyson Langhofer, stated that “no district should ever force teachers to willfully deceive parents or engage in any speech that violates their deeply held religious beliefs.”
It is also worth noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group”, due to a conceived anti-LGBT slant in the organization operations.
“We’re pleased to settle this case favorably on behalf of Pam (Ricard), and we hope that it will encourage school districts across the country to support the constitutionally protected freedom of teachers to teach and communicate honestly with both children and parents,” Langhofer continued.
In the lawsuit, Ricard is said to have been told that a student prefers to use a last name that is different that the one that was given on the students enrollment documents, and that the student would like to go by “he/him” pronouns, despite being a female biologically.
Ricard then chose to refer to the student as “miss (last name)” in an attempt “to be respectful to the student without compromising” her own deeply help religious beliefs.
After this incident, the school district adopted a rule that forced teachers to call students only by their preferred names and pronouns.
This new rule did not provide any room for exceptions to be made on a religious or moral basis.
Also, in October 2021, teachers were forbidden from informing a student’s parents about a change in their child’s preferred pronouns or a name change, unless the student initiated a request for the teacher to do so.
Surely, this win for Pamela Ricard will be viewed by teachers nationwide as an affirmation of their first amendment right, and the the safety of those rights even when they are teaching in school.
Hopefully, more teachers will be encouraged to stand up to the denial of truth that is being pushed in many of this nations schools, as a court has now shown a willingness to side with the instructors.
Most importantly, this is a major win for students, who may soon be free from this radical gender-theory which is being pushed on them in public schools at a very young age.