Kansas Teacher Wins Lawsuit Against School After Being Suspended For Not Using Student’s Preferred Pronouns

Pamela Ricard, a teacher who refused to refer to a student by their preferred pronouns, one a lawsuit against the school that punished her.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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Pamela Ricard

A Kansas teacher has won her lawsuit against the school she taught at for 15 years after she was reprimanded for refusing to refer to a biological female student as he/him. Pamela Ricard continuously called the student by their female name due to her religious belief that there are only two sexes. After being suspended, she filed a legal claim last spring and has won her lawsuit

Pamela Ricard has been a math teacher at the Fort Riley Middle School since 2005. The school in question did not have a formal LGBTQ+ policy when she was told to change how she addressed the student. Nor did the student in question directly request the change to Ricard. Despite this, the school suspended her for three days after she refused to address the female student as he/him and continued “deadnaming” the middle school child. 

When she returned from her suspension, Pamela Ricard was ordered to attend a newly implemented “gender diversity” training session. During this workshop, it was made clear that teachers would be punished for not adhering to minor students’ preferred pronouns. It has not been disclosed whether the parents of the student in question were told about this decision or if they contacted Ricard directly, but she did note that her choice to continue addressing the student by their legal name was done respectfully and without malice. 

The lawsuit also described how Pamela Ricard is a Christian who has specific beliefs about the nature of biology. She requested a religious exemption from the new school policy and was granted the ability to use whichever pronouns she wished, but was told that she must address students by their preferred name. Her lawyer argued that forcing her to call a female by a new male name, which is not their legal name, violated her religious freedoms. 

This has not fared well for educational institutions working to force teachers to use specific language in the past. Just this April, a college professor from Ohio was granted $400 thousand in damages after being punished for refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns. It was ruled that his religious rights were violated, as his belief in biological sex is based on his theological beliefs — much like Pamela Ricard. 

Similarly, Pamela Ricard also won her case. Instead of going all the way through the court system, the Fort Riley Middle School offered her a $95 thousand settlement to drop the lawsuit. Ricard accepted.

Pamela Ricard

This is yet another win for educators’ free speech rights and that of parents fighting to be informed of their children’s gender confusion before schools allow them to transition without legal consent. As more and more cases like this come to light, ensuring that educators’ constitutional rights are not violated by school policy is essential to the health and well being of the school system. Teachers are currently being discriminated against for their religious beliefs in order to further political movements. Educators who wish to do their jobs without unlawful interference are having to rely on the courts for protection against these personal attacks, and so far, they are winning their cases.