Teacher Fired after Refusing to Use Preferred Pronouns Wins $360,000 Settlement

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Teacher Fired after Refusing to Use Preferred Pronouns Wins $360,000 Settlement

A former high school teacher who was terminated for refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns has received a $360,000 settlement from the Jurupa Unified School District of California.

The lawsuit, filed in May 2023 by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, stemmed from the dismissal of the gym teacher at the time, Jessica Tapia, who refused to comply with the school district’s requirements in 2022.

It cited Tapia’s religious beliefs as her reason for not using preferred pronouns to cater to students’ gender identity.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the school District will allocate $285,000 to Tapia and $75,000 to her legal representatives.

Julianne Fleischer, the legal counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, emphasized the significance of the settlement in a statement.

“Today’s settlement serves as a reminder that religious freedom is protected, no matter your career,” she stated.

Fleischer praised Tapia’s resilience, adding:

“Jessica’s story is one of faithful courage. She fought back to ensure her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination.”

The lawsuit accused the school district of compelling Tapia to undertake certain actions regarding students’ gender identity, including lying to “parents about their children’s gender identity, referring to students by their preferred pronouns, refraining from expressing her religious beliefs with students or on her social media, and allow students to use the bathroom or locker room that matched their preferred sex.”

Jacqueline Paul, a spokesperson for the Jurupa Unified School District, said the decision to settle was made in the student’s best interests.

Paul stated:

“This settlement is not a win for Ms. Tapia but is a compromise of a disputed claim. The settlement certainly does not state or prove any illegal action or discrimination by the District.”

“The District continues to deny any illegal action or discrimination against Ms. Tapia. As is clear from the settlement agreement, the District has not admitted any fault or wrongdoing against Ms. Tapia,” she added.

Tapia expressed in a statement:

“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.”

“Across the country, we are seeing teachers’ freedom of speech and religious liberty violated through policies that require them to forsake their morals,” she continued.

“I want teachers to be confident in the fact that the best thing we can do for students is educate in truth, not deception.”

Tapia and Advocates for Faith and Freedom are set to launch a new initiative, “Teachers Don’t Lie,” which will help religious educators understand their constitutional rights.

READ: Christian Couple Denied Right to Foster Child after Refusing to Use Pronouns

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