Teacher Wins Huge Settlement After School Suspended Her for Not Using Student’s ‘Preferred’ Pronouns

A Kansas teacher received a $95,000 settlement this week after she was suspended for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns while being forced to hide the child’s social transition from their parents.

“In a victory for free speech at public schools,” began a statement by the middle school teacher’s legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “Fort Riley Middle School officials have agreed to pay $95,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for violating a math teacher’s First Amendment rights when they reprimanded and suspended her for addressing a student by the student’s legal and enrolled name and forced her to conceal the student’s social transition from the student’s parents.”

The teacher, Pamela Ricard, challenged a policy at Fort Riley Middle School that required her to use a student’s preferred name when in the classroom, but use the child’s legal name when speaking to parents. For Ricard, this violated her conscience.

“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.

The former mathematics teacher was reprimanded and suspended in 2021 following her decision to refer to a transgender student by their legal name and innate pronouns, according to The Daily Wire.

“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 explained, adding, “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.”

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Once the suit was brought to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in May, the court found that she was “likely to prevail on her First Amendment free exercise of religion claim, and therefore granted her motion to halt enforcement of the parental communication portion of the district policy.”

The court also found that Ricard was within her right to continue to call students by their legal names and innate pronouns which resulted in the local school board “vot[ing] to revoke the parental communications policy at issue.”

In addition to the termination of the policy, the teacher was awarded a $95,000 settlement and school officials will release a statement acknowledging that the teacher was in good disciplinary standing following her retirement in May.

The court luckily sided with Ricard in this case, however, teachers across the country, who don’t agree with the transgender ideology, face far greater odds in more liberal states than Kansas. The parents’ movement across the country pressuring school boards to change their policies that push gender theory and left-wing indoctrination is admirable and hopefully, schools begin to take notice that their policies have consequences when children are at stake.

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