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HomeGeneralCourt Orders California School District to Reinstate Christian Teachers Amid Gender Policy...

Court Orders California School District to Reinstate Christian Teachers Amid Gender Policy Lawsuits

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A federal judge has issued an order instructing a California middle school to permit two schoolteachers to return to the classroom. The two teachers were placed on paid administrative leave in May 2023.

Now, they are actively pursuing a lawsuit against district administrators and the California Board of Education regarding gender identity policies. Lori Ann West, one of the teachers involved in the lawsuit, expressed her astonishment at the judge’s decision, stating, “I’m shocked! I’m still processing. I cannot believe it.”

The ruling also allows Elizabeth Mirabelli, the other teacher in the case, to return to the classroom. The dispute originated at Rincon Middle School in Escondido last year when the two teachers claimed that the district violated their First Amendment rights.

They argued that a policy mandated them to acknowledge a child’s preferred gender identity while also using biological identity and pronouns when in the presence of parents. A transcript of a presentation to district staff in February, which Fox News Digital obtained, revealed that teachers were instructed to “accept the student’s assertion of their gender identity and begin to treat the student immediately, consistently with that gender identity.”

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According to the transcript of the presentation, it stated, “The student’s assertion is enough. There is no need for a formal declaration. There’s no requirement for parent or caretaker agreement or even for knowledge for us to begin treating that student consistent with their gender identity.”

The presentation emphasized that not affirming the child’s gender preference could be deemed discrimination and harassment by district policies.

POLL — Should Public Schools Include Critical Race Theory and Sex Education in Their Curriculum?

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Paul Jonna, special counsel representing the teachers, mentioned to Fox News Digital last year that West and Mirabelli were granted a religious accommodation concerning pronoun use and gender-specific names. However, they were not given an accommodation allowing them to inform parents of the child’s decision.

According to FOX 5’s report, the judge invalidated the district’s privacy policy, citing a violation of the Constitution. This ruling suggests that the teachers should have been allowed to resume their work shortly after that.

However, there was a delay in their return. Paul Jonna noted, “When the case was first filed, there was some retaliation and harassment directed at our clients.”

ALSO READ: US Supreme Court Rejects Transgender Student Bathroom Case

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“The investigation was supposed to be concluded in 30 days. It ended up taking over five months after the injunction was issued. They told us the investigation was cleared, and then conveniently, the next day or a couple of days later, they said a new complaint had been made against Lori, and she will be placed on leave again,” mentioned Paul Jonna.

According to the report, this highlights the extended timeline and what Jonna perceives as a subsequent instance of action against one of the teachers. Following the prolonged investigation and subsequent developments, Paul Jonna filed a motion to hold the district in contempt, although the judge denied this motion.

However, the judge issued an order instructing the district to allow Lori Ann West and Elizabeth Mirabelli to return to the classroom. As of the latest update, the Escondido Union School District had not responded to requests for comment.

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