As the world continues to strive to be more inclusive when it comes to self-identification, the American school system has adopted new practices to ensure that all students feel respected, but their actions against a teacher who did not properly address a student cost them close to $100,000. According to recent reports, a former Kansas high school teacher was previously suspended for refusing to use a student’s name and preferred pronouns, for which she sued the school and was recently awarded $95,000.
@TheHill reports, Pamela Ricard, a former math teacher at Fort Riley High School in Kansas, just left with a strong payday following his victory in a lawsuit he filed against the school for violating his religious beliefs and his First Amendment Rights. Ricard was suspended for three days in April 2021 after she refused to use a student’s name and preferred pronouns and instead referred to them by her legal name, a claim she adamantly denied. . A judge recently awarded her $95,000 in her lawsuit against the school, according to a statement from her attorneys.
Ricard claimed he was never directly asked to use the updated student pronouns or his preferred name, but Fort Riley Middle School told a different story. They say a school counselor informed Ricard that the student preferred to be called by a name other than the legal one and that his pronouns had been officially changed to him. Additionally, Ricard admitted that she addressed the student as “Miss” and used her legal name in an effort to respect the student without compromising her own religious beliefs. She was immediately suspended for violating school policies related to diversity, inclusion, and bullying of students by staff.
After Ricard’s lawsuit was filed in March, a US District Court for the District of Kansas ruled that the lawsuit could officially move forward two months later. Fast-forward to the present, and Fort Riley High School officials have agreed to pay Ricard $95,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees to settle the lawsuit.
Following the ruling, Ricard’s attorney, Tyson Langhofer, said, “No school district should force teachers to knowingly mislead parents or engage in any speech that violates their deeply held religious beliefs.”