By Anders Hagstrom, Fox News, NY Post
A retired Kansas teacher won $95,000 in a lawsuit against the Geary County school district after administrators attempted to force her to deceive parents about their student’s gender identity.
Pamela Ricard, 58, argued that school administrators in Kansas had demanded that she use students’ preferred gender pronouns in classrooms, but avoid using those terms when speaking to parents. Ricard sued, arguing such deception was against her Christian beliefs.
The district agreed to settle on Wednesday, and Ricard and her attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) withdrew the lawsuit.
“No school district should ever force teachers to willfully deceive parents or engage in any speech that violates their deeply held religious beliefs,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement.
“We’re pleased to settle this case favorably on behalf of Pam, 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.”
Pamela Ricard argued that deceiving students’ parents was against her Christian beliefs.
Administrators at Fort Riley Middle School reprimanded and suspended Ricard in 2021 after she referred to a transgender student by the student’s legal name and pronouns. Nevertheless, they demanded that Ricard use that same legal name in any interactions with the student’s parents, according to the ADF.
“The Geary County School District unsuccessfully tried to convince a federal court that a teacher should completely avoid using a child’s name during a parent-teacher conference in order to hide new names and genders being used by the school for a child in a classroom,” ADF Attorney Joshua Ney said. “Absurdity and deception has its limits, especially in federal court. I’m glad the case clarifies the financial stakes for school boards if they attempt to force teachers to lie to parents about their students.”
Ricard retired from her teaching job in May. The district school board rescinded its policy of deceiving parents soon after Ricard filed her lawsuit.