Religious Belief and Pronoun Use Controversy Leads to $360,000 Settlement for Fired Teacher in California

Religious Belief and Pronoun Use Controversy Leads to $360,000 Settlement for Fired Teacher in California

Lawyers say that a California school district has settled a lawsuit with a teacher who said she was fired because of her religious beliefs because she wouldn’t use the pronouns that her children wanted to use.

In a news release on May 14, Jessica Tapia’s lawyers at Advocates for Faith & Freedom said that the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County had agreed to pay her $360,000.

Tapia filed a federal lawsuit in May of last year, saying that the district’s move to fire her violated her civil and First Amendment rights. The settlement ends that lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that some of the alleged violations happened because she wouldn’t call students by their chosen pronouns and was afraid to tell parents about the students’ gender identities.

“Today’s settlement serves as a reminder that religious freedom is protected, no matter your career,” Julianne Fleischer, one of Tapia’s attorneys, said in the release.

As of Monday, May 13, the district accepted the settlement but “has not admitted any fault or wrongdoing against Ms. Tapia,” a district spokesperson told McClatchy News in an email.

Biden Administration Facing Widespread Backlash: Sued by 18 States Over Transgender Workplace Rights Guidance

“The decision to settle this case was made in conjunction with the District’s self-insurance authority and in the best interest of the students, such that the District can continue to dedicate all of its resources and efforts to educate and support its student population regardless of their protected class,” Paul said.

The lawsuit says Tapia has worked for the school since 2014, most recently as a PE teacher at Jurupa Valley High School.

It says that Tapia was put on administrative leave a few days before the end of the 2021-2022 school year after posts on her personal Instagram account were “brought to the District’s attention.”

The case says, “The District claimed that Ms. Tapia’s social media posts were racist, offensive, disrespectful, and made fun of people because of their sexual orientation.”

The lawsuit says that the school then accused Tapia of “proselytizing during P.E. class” and not using the correct pronouns when calling students by their preferred names.

The claim says Tapia got a “Notice of Unprofessional Conduct” from the district in late September 2022. This notice told her what she needed to do to keep her job. The lawsuit says she did things like using the names her students wanted, letting them use the bathroom that fits their gender identity, and not talking about the Bible with her students.

The suit then says Tapia took a medical leave of absence that ended in December 2022.

Biden Takes Personal Jabs at Trump, Calls Him a ‘Loser and Having Trouble’ and Criticizes COVID Response

The lawsuit says that Ms. Tapia went through a lot of mental and emotional pain because she had to decide whether to agree to conditions that went against her religious views or lose the job she had worked her whole life for.

Documents show that Tapia wrote back in December 2022 that she could not follow certain orders because they were against her Christian faith.

Tapia said that one of them was having to use the kids’ preferred pronouns when talking about them.

“The lies and confusion that kids are fed when they are told, ‘You aren’t who you were created to be,'” Tapia wrote. “I will not take part in that.” “I believe that God made men and women.”

The letter shows that Tapia also said she couldn’t follow school policy, which says that families shouldn’t know their children’s gender identities.

The lawsuit says that when she came back in January 2023, she sent the district another letter asking for possible accommodations, such as being able to “call students by the name listed on the school roster” or being moved to a different school or job within the district where she wouldn’t have to deal with students.

The district replied that it couldn’t meet Tapia’s needs “without violating California and federal law, ‘aimed at protecting students and providing all students, a discrimination and harassment free learning environment,'” and consequently fired her, according to the lawsuit.

Settlement: Fleischer, Tapia’s lawyer, praised her work to make sure that “her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination,” as stated in the news release.

In the release, Tapia said, “What happened to me could happen to anyone. I want the next teacher to know that it is worth it to stand up for what is right.”

Paul said that the deal, which means she can’t apply for jobs with the district again, “is not a win for Ms. Tapia but is in compromise of a disputed claim.”

Paul said, “The settlement does not say or prove that the District did anything illegal or unfair.”

A study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law in June 2022 said that about 1.4% of 13–17-year-olds said they were transgender.

Tennessee Family Perishes in Horrific Lightning Strike, Pregnant Mother Among the Victims

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *