Teacher’s Award-Winning Stand Against Using Preferred Pronouns

Kansas teacher, Pamela Ricard, received a prestigious award for her courageous stand against using a student’s preferred pronouns. In a recent lawsuit against her school district, Geary County Schools, Ricard defended her decision to address a biologically female student by their legal and enrolled last name rather than their preferred pronouns.

A Compromise of Faith

Ricard, who teaches at Fort Riley Middle School, found herself in a delicate situation when she learned that a student wanted to be addressed by a different first name and preferred pronouns. Due to her religious beliefs, she decided to refer to the student as “Miss [legal/enrolled last name]” in an effort to navigate the situation without using the student’s new preferred first name.

Although there was no specific policy addressing this scenario, Ricard faced suspension and reprimand under broad school district policies related to staff bullying. However, a new policy was implemented after her suspension, requiring teachers to use the pronouns requested by students.

Upholding Her Conscience

Ricard’s lawsuit argued that this new policy went against her conscience, as her Christian beliefs aligned with traditional views on human biology and gender. Her attorneys emphasized that she should be able to communicate with parents in a manner consistent with her beliefs and refrain from using pronouns that contradicted students’ biological sex.

Victory and Questions

After federal court proceedings, Ricard was awarded $95,000 in settlement. The court also struck down a provision that prohibited staff from disclosing students’ preferred names and pronouns to parents. However, the school district has chosen not to comment on the matter, leaving the status of current policies uncertain.

This case raises significant questions about striking a balance between accommodating students’ preferences and respecting educators’ religious beliefs. Navigating the complexities of gender identity and religious freedom can be a challenge. What are your thoughts on this story?