In Ireland, a teacher was suspended and then jailed over his refusal to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Enoch Burke was banned from school after citing religious conviction in his refusal to use the pronoun “they” for a student. In addition, he was arrested for returning to the school Monday, according to the Irish news website RTE.

Wilson’s Hospital School suspended Burke in a disciplinary process for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a transgender student, which he said would violate his Christian beliefs. A court issued an injunction temporarily barring him from teaching, according to RTE. Burke returned to the school anyways, and he was arrested and taken to prison.

Burke maintained his innocence and the injustice of the suspension, saying he did not want to go to jail, but that teachers could only be suspended for an allegation of gross misconduct and that his religious beliefs were not misconduct.

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Burke told the justice he would not violate his conscience by calling a boy a girl.

In the US, a Kansas middle school math teacher was also compelled to violate her religious beliefs by calling students according to their preferred pronouns.
Pamela Ricard found herself in the middle of a skirmish after addressing two students by their legal names rather than their preferred names and pronouns. She also refused to hide the students’ transition from their parents. Both of her choices violated her school district’s policies.
Geary County School District disciplined and suspended Ricard. Ricard, who had worked for the school for 17 years, responded by filing a lawsuit.

 

According to The Daily Signal, Ricard claimed in a federal suit that the school district violated her constitutional rights and did not accommodate her Christian beliefs when suspending her. She believes God created each person as male or female and that there are only two anatomical sexes (except in very rare medical circumstances). She also said the Bible prohibits dishonesty and lying.

Ricard’s boldness led to a win, a $95k settlement, and the school district changing policy regarding a teacher’s right to communicate with parents on transgender issues. The school district also agreed to issue a statement that Ricard was in good standing before retiring in May.

In May, U.S. District Court Judge Holly Teeter believed Ricard was likely to succeed on her First Amendment free exercise of religion claim against the school district, granting her motion to suspend enforcement of the school’s communication policy.

One of Ricard’s attorneys issued this statement:

“This case provides straightforward lessons for Kansas school boards: Schools shouldn’t lie to parents, and teachers don’t forfeit their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. The Geary County School District unsuccessfully tried to convince a federal court that a teacher should completely avoid using a child’s name during a parent-teacher conference in order to hide new names and genders being used by the school for a child in a classroom. Absurdity and deception has its limits, especially in federal court. I’m glad the case clarifies the financial stakes for school boards if they attempt to force teachers to lie to parents about their students.”

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