Teacher Wins $360K Settlement Over Pronoun Violation

(RightWing.org) – A California school district has been ordered to pay compensation to a teacher fired over trans ideology. Jessica Tapia was terminated in 2022 for refusing to use “preferred pronouns.” Now she’s won a major victory against religious discrimination in our schools.

As of September 2022, Jessica Tapia had been a gym teacher in California’s Jurupa Unified School District (JUSD) for more than 20 years. She was a popular instructor with consistently excellent evaluations — so she was shocked when, on September 30, she was issued a Notice of Unprofessional Conduct.

District officials accused her of holding controversial opinions on gender ideology, and gave her an action plan that required her to hide children’s gender identity from their parents and use preferred pronouns, as well as allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching whatever sex they claimed to be. Tapia said she couldn’t comply, and asked for an accommodation with her religious beliefs, but the district terminated her.

In May 2023, Tapia, backed by legal group Advocacy for Faith and Freedom, sued the school district for depriving her of freedom of speech and religion, violating the due process clause, and violating her employment rights. On May 15, 2024, the school district finally settled, agreeing to pay $285,000 to Tapia and $75,000 to her lawyers. JUSD spokeswoman Jacqueline Paul said the settlement was a “compromise” made “in the best interest of the students,” and denied the district had admitted any fault.

Advocacy for Faith and Freedom, on the other hand, released a statement saying the settlement showed “religious freedom is protected, no matter your career.” Counsel Julianne Fleischer praised Tapia’s “faithful courage,” saying she had fought her almost year-long legal battle to make sure “no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination.” The group is now launching a new campaign, “Teachers Don’t Lie,” to inform teachers of their religious rights.

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