Middle School Teacher Sues District

A Kansas middle school teacher who was disciplined for refusing to use a student’s preferred first name and gender pronouns is suing the school district.

Fort Riley Middle School math teacher Pamela Ricard said in a federal lawsuit that the Geary County School District violated her constitutional rights and did not accommodate her Christian beliefs when it suspended her for three days.

Ricard, who has taught at the school since 2005, was reprimanded and suspended in April 2021 for addressing a student as “miss” to avoid using the student’s preferred first name after Ricard was told that the student used he/him pronouns.

The suit says Ricard believes that God assigns gender at birth, and any policy requiring her to use language that is different from the student’s biological sex “actively violates Ms. Ricard’s religious beliefs.”

Neither the school nor the district had a formal policy on gender pronouns at the time.

Ricard was suspended under the district’s bullying and diversity and inclusion policies.