Last spring, a math teacher at a middle school in Fort Riley, Kan., called a student “miss” to get the student’s attention at the end of class, court records state.
After class, another classmate emailed the teacher, Pamela Ricard, to let her know that the student now used he/him pronouns and a different first name.
But the next day, when Ricard used the student’s last name — avoiding the new name or any pronouns at all — the classmate grew frustrated, leaving a note on Ricard’s desk accusing the teacher of being “transphobic.”
The note ended with a remark on the classmate’s own gender identity: “my pronouns are he/they btw.”
In a lawsuit, Ricard — who is Christian — says she was uncomfortable with referring to the students by names and pronouns that were different from what was listed in the district’s enrollment system. After some disagreement with school officials on how to handle the situation, Ricard was suspended and later issued a written reprimand for her refusal to comply with the district’s policies on diversity and inclusion.
Now, Ricard is suing Geary County Schools Unified School District board members, the superintendent and Fort Riley Middle School’s principal, alleging that they violated her First Amendment rights by forcing her to use language and implementing policies that breached her personal and religious beliefs.
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