California school district to pay $360,000 to teacher fired over pronoun policy

The lawsuit alleged the school district required Tapia to take specific actions related to students' gender identity, such as referring to students by their preferred pronouns, concealing students' gender identity from parents, and allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their preferred gender.

California school district to pay $360,000 to teacher fired over pronoun policy
Ted Eytan/Creative Commons
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The Jurupa Unified School District of California has reached a settlement agreement with Jessica Tapia, a former high school gym teacher who was fired in 2022 for refusing to use students' preferred pronouns due to her religious beliefs.

The school district will pay $285,000 to Tapia and $75,000 to her legal representatives at Advocates for Faith and Freedom, who filed the lawsuit on her behalf in May 2023.

Julianne Fleischer, legal counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, emphasized the importance of the settlement, stating, "Today's settlement serves as a reminder that religious freedom is protected, no matter your career." She commended Tapia's courage in fighting back against discrimination and ensuring the school district was held accountable, reports the Daily Fetched.

The lawsuit alleged the school district required Tapia to take specific actions related to students' gender identity, such as referring to students by their preferred pronouns, concealing students' gender identity from parents, and allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their preferred self-identified gender.

Tapia refused to comply with these requirements, citing her religious beliefs.

Jacqueline Paul, spokesperson for the Jurupa Unified School District, maintained that the settlement was a compromise and not an admission of wrongdoing. "The District continues to deny any illegal action or discrimination against Ms. Tapia," Paul stated.

Tapia expressed her hope that her experience would inspire other teachers to stand up for their rights, saying, "What happened to me can happen to anybody, and I want the next teacher to know that it is worth it to take a stand for what is right."

She plans to launch a new initiative called "Teachers Don't Lie" with Advocates for Faith and Freedom to educate religious educators about their constitutional rights.

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  • By David Menzies

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