Educators have rights, too

Educators have rights, too

Educators have rights, too

California teachers are taking their school district to federal court for their right to operate honestly.

Educators Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West say administrators at the Escondido Union School District near San Diego are forcing them to deceive parents about students' gender preferences, which they view as a violation of their rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

"In this case, they work for a public school … a government entity, and they have constitutional rights," says attorney Paul Jonna of Thomas More Society, the law firm representing the educators in federal court. "That school district is bound by the U.S. and state constitutions."

The lawsuit also names Rincon Middle School as well as the California State Board of Education.

Meanwhile, as the educators continue to work in the school district, Jonna reports that they are suffering some "pretty significant harassment."

Jonna, Paul (Thomas More Society) Jonna

"They love this school district, but they were put in a position by their district to either comply with this illegal policy or lose their jobs, which is why they ultimately decided to hire us and file this lawsuit," the attorney relays. "The policy not only requires the teachers to use the student's preferred name and preferred pronoun, but it requires those teachers to refer to those same students by their legal names and biological pronouns when speaking to parents."

So, they are required to participate in students' social transitions, and then they are required to actively deceive parents. This, says Jonna, "violates not only the parents' fundamental right to raise their own children without interference by the government, but also our clients' constitutional rights."

The lawsuit, filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, is still in its early stages.

Escondido Union School District did not respond to AFN's email seeking comment.