A Christian educator’s lawsuit against her school’s transgender pronoun policy has been settled for $95,000.
A middle school teacher in Kansas was awarded $95,000 in damages and lawyers’ costs from the school that had punished her for using a transgender student’s legal name instead of the student’s chosen name. The school had been sued for breaching the teacher’s First Amendment rights.
Pamela Ricard, a math teacher at Fort Riley Middle School, filed a lawsuit claiming that the kid who had filed the complaint never once requested that she refer to them by a name or pronoun other than what was on file with the school.
A federal judge agreed with Ricard in May, saying she had a good chance of winning her lawsuit challenging a particular school policy that forbids teachers from disclosing a student’s transgender name and pronouns to parents unless the student approves. The judge ruled that the regulation probably violates her First Amendment right to religious freedom.
Ricard, a Christian, claimed in court that she had a “fundamental right to regulate the upbringing and education of her children” and that the Bible “prohibits dishonesty and lying.”
According to the court’s May judgment, “[Ricard] considers that addressing pupils in one way at school and in a different one while speaking to their parents is dishonest.” She has strong moral convictions that are undermined by dishonesty.
The settlement between Ricard and the Fort Riley Middle School administration includes damages of $95,000 and payment of Ricard’s attorneys’ fees. The school system has assured her that she is within regulation when she refers to pupils by their preferred first names rather than pronouns. In May, she hung up her boots for good.
Ricard was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.
According to ADF senior attorney Tyson Langhofer: “No school system should ever require instructors to knowingly deceive parents or engage in any speech that violates their sincerely held religious views.” “We are happy to reach a favorable settlement for Pam, and we hope that it will inspire school districts around the country to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed right of teachers to teach and communicate honestly with both students and parents.”