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Christian teacher in Kansas sues school district over suspension for pronoun use

A middle school teacher in Fort Riley, Kan., pursuing the lawsuit against her school district after being suspended for refusing to use a trans-identified student’s preferred name and pronouns because doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

As reported by Metro Voice earlier, Pamela Ricard field the suit last week against school officials in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Defendants named in the lawsuit include the USD 475 Geary County School District board members, Superintendent Reginald Eggleston and Principal Kathleen Brennan.

Kansas teacher sues district after punishment for not using student’s preferred pronouns


According to the lawsuit, Ricard was suspended in April 2021 for three days and given a written reprimand because she called a biologically female student by her legal name and used female pronouns.

“Neither the district nor the school had a formal policy regarding student preferred name and pronoun use at the time Ms. Ricard was suspended and reprimanded,” the lawsuit said. “Instead, Ms. Ricard was suspended and reprimanded under generic school district policies related to bullying by staff; diversity and inclusion; and staff-student relations prohibiting ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying’ of students by staff.”

The lawsuit further states that Ricard is a Christian who “holds sincere religious beliefs consistent with the traditional Christian and biblical understanding of the human person and biological sex. Any policy that requires Ms. Ricard to refer to a student by a gendered, non-binary or plural pronoun (e.g., he/him, she/her, they/them, zhe/zher, etc.) or salutation (Mr., Miss, Ms.) or other gendered language that is different from the student’s biological sex actively violates Ms. Ricard’s religious beliefs.”

The complaint noted that the school board denied Ricard’s request for a “specific accommodation and policy that would allow her to continue to address students by their names but refrain from using preferred pronouns or other gender-specific language, for a student when such pronouns or language were different than the student’s biological sex.”

The board also adopted a new policy requiring teachers to “refer to each student — both in and out of class — using whatever names or pronouns the student claims reflect his or her particular gender identity on any given day.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice