In a successful conclusion to a story the Daily Citizen has been following for the last few months, Pamela Ricard, a middle school math teacher in Fort Riley, Kansas, will receive $95,000 in damages and attorney’s fees from the school district that punished her for refusing to use students’ “preferred pronouns” or deceive parents about their children’s sexual identity confusion.
Ms. Ricard, a Christian, was suspended earlier this year from her teaching position for refusing to violate her deeply held beliefs in order to comply with the gender ideology policies of her school district, USD 475 Geary County School District (District). Those policies would have forced her to deny the biological reality (and biblical teaching) concerning the reality of only two sexes, determined at birth. The policies also required her to conceal from parents the struggles their children might be having over their sexual identity, even if the parents directly inquired about it.
Ms. Ricard, assisted by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Kriegshauser Ney Law Group, filed a federal lawsuit over the District’s actions and succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction in May prohibiting the District from enforcing its policies against Ricard.
Following the court’s ruling, the parties reached a settlement of Ricard’s claims, as announced in an ADF press release. Ricard, who retired in May, will receive $95,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, along with a statement in her personnel file that she retired in good standing with the District without any disciplinary actions pending against her.
The District revoked its controversial parental communications policy, and the parties further agreed to a voluntary dismissal of Ricard’s lawsuit.
Ricard’s attorneys are pleased with the settlement and the message it sends to public school districts across America regarding the religious freedom rights of teachers.
“No school district should ever force teachers to willfully deceive parents or engage in any speech that violates their deeply held religious beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “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.”
Joshua Ney, partner at Kriegshauser Ney Law Group, also represents Picard. He commented on the absurdity of schools intentionally setting out to deceive parents about deeply personal issues their children are experiencing.
“This case provides straightforward lessons for Kansas school boards: Schools shouldn’t lie to parents and teachers don’t forfeit their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door,” Ney said. “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. 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.”
Parents have the constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their children, but the current wave of radical gender ideology in the public schools has created several situations across the country similar to what occurred in Fort Riley. Thanks to Christian teachers such as Ms. Picard, those efforts to subvert parental rights have been exposed and, in many cases, reversed.
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