Kansas teacher sues district after she was suspended for refusing to use student's preferred pronouns

Ricard was reprimanded and suspended for three days in April 2021 "for addressing a biologically female student [who uses preferred 'he/him' pronouns] by the student's legal and enrolled last name," according to the lawsuit.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

A Kansas math teacher has filed a lawsuit against her public school district after they suspended her for refusing to use a student's preferred name and pronouns.

According to the Herzog Foundation, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of teacher Pamela Ricard against USD 475 Geary County School District and the principal of Fort Riley Middle School in Fort Riley, Kansas. Ricard is described as a "decades-long" teacher who has been assigned to the school since 2005.

In April of 2021, Ricard was reprimanded and suspended for three days "for addressing a biologically female student by the student's legal and enrolled last name," according to the lawsuit, cited by the foundation.

The school had reportedly sent Ricard an email stating the student's preferred name, though the lawsuit allegedly continued to address the student as "she." In the spring, the school sent teachers a directive to use students' preferred names.

A week after Ricard's three-day suspension, the principal sent teachers "training documents on diversity training on gender identity and gender expression," as well as protocols on the use of preferred names and pronouns.

The lawsuit says teachers were told in the training documents that failure to use students' preferred names and pronouns "would constitute a discriminatory act subject to employee discipline" and would be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The lawsuit alleges that other teachers have "failed or forgotten" to use the preferred names and pronouns of students, and have gone without disciplinary action.

According to the Daily Caller, at the time of Ricard's three-day suspension, the lawsuit alleges that the district and the middle school had not had a formal policy in place regarding student preferred name and pronoun usage and that Ricard was suspended under the "Bullying by Staff" policy.

Following her suspension, Ricard requested a religious accommodation "regarding any school policy that requires a teacher or school employee to actively state or otherwise use a student's or any other person's preferred pronouns or other gendered language when different from the student's or person's biological sex."

The lawsuit alleges that policies requiring Ricard to refer to a student "by a gendered, non-binary, or plural pronoun" violates her religious beliefs.

On Sept. 7, the board voted to uphold her disciplinary action and denied her requests for a religious exemption after she attempted to appeal her disciplinary actions.

In October of 2021, the school officially released a policy mandating staff members call students by their preferred names and pronouns.

"Students will be called by their preferred name and pronouns. This means if a student makes a request of a staff member to call them by a name other than their legal name as noted in the student information system – Skyward, the staff member(s) will respect the student’s wishes and refer to them with the indicated preferred name," the policy read, according to the complaint.


Join and support independent free thinkers!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Support The Post Millennial

Remind me next month

To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our Privacy Policy

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© 2024 The Post Millennial, Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information