Pamela Ricard, a Kansas teacher and a devoted Christian, was suspended by the school where she works because she refused to use one of the student’s preferred pronouns. A girl from the class wanted to be called a different first name and opted for the pronouns he/him.
Pamela, on the other hand, decided to refer to the student as “Miss [legal/enrolled last name]” to avoid using the student’s new preferred first name.
As there wasn’t a policy that would address this matter, Pamela was suspended on the grounds of “generic school district policies related to bullying by staff.” However, once her suspension was over and she returned to work after three days, she noticed that the school did set a policy which stated that “employees should be aware and make an effort to utilize the pronouns an individual requests to be identified by.”
Pamela then decided to take the case to court as she believed the policy “violated her conscience.”
“Ms. Ricard is a Christian and holds sincere religious beliefs consistent with the traditional Christian and biblical understanding of the human person and biological sex,” the lawsuit stated. “Ms. Ricard believes that God created human beings as either male or female, that this sex is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed, regardless of an individual person’s feelings, desires, or preferences.”
The court ruled in Pamela’s favor and the Geary County Schools was demanded to pay her $95,000.
The attorney stated that she was “free to speak without violating her conscience by communicating with parents in a manner consistent with how she is required to address the students at school, and was okay to continue to “avoid pronouns for students who have requested pronouns inconsistent with their biological sex.”
The policy set by the school further stated that teachers and other school employees could not disclose students’ preferred names and pronouns to their parents. The court ruled this policy to be changed but there is no additional information of whether that happened and what the policy, if there is any, includes.
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