Teacher Fired for Being Christian Wins District Settlement

(DailyVantage.com) – A California school district fired a teacher last year due to her decision to avoid discussing LGBTQ or racial topics in her class and sharing her personal religious beliefs on her social media, prompting her to pursue legal action, which has resulted in a $360,000 settlement.

The story first made national headlines after Jessica Tapia, a gym teacher who worked for the Jurupa Unified School District, spoke to mainstream media outlets about her termination. Tapia claimed that the school district terminated her due to her outspoken Christian beliefs, which she said prevented her from supporting the school’s required LGTBQ curriculum.

Tapia sued the Jurupa Unified School District, claiming the district violated her rights to freedom of religion and speech, both guaranteed under the First Amendment. After a year-long legal battle, Tapia prevailed and won a settlement of $285,000, and the school paid her attorney an additional $75,000. Tapia’s lawsuit came as the Jurupa Unified School District attempted to implement pro-LGTBQ policies, which included instructions that teachers avoid assuming a child’s gender or preventing students from entering whichever bathroom they preferred. The district had also begun allowing students of either gender to participate in sports as a show of support for transgender students.

The school district had also instituted a policy that required teachers like Tapia to lie to parents about their child’s gender identity, which the school classified as “private information.” The controversial policy forces teachers to lie to parents about whether or not their child identifies as a different gender unless the student provides consent for school officials to discuss their preferred gender identity. Despite her objections to the policy, Tapia worked with school officials for almost ten years until members of the administration found her social media accounts.

Tapia’s social media accounts featured numerous posts about her Christian faith, including examples of how she used her faith to relate to her students. Tapia also shared posts that indicated she did not support the controversial gender identity policy, along with other posts about her opposition to transgenderism and sexual orientation fluidity. Tapia received a misconduct notice from school officials for the social media posts, prompting her to ask for an accommodation based on her religion, to which the school responded by terminating Tapia.

Shortly after her termination, Tapia filed suit against the school district, citing the controversial policies as a constitutional rights violation and discrimination. The lawsuit lasted over a year until May 13, when the school accepted a settlement offer and paid Tapia and her lawyer. Despite accepting the settlement offer, school officials claim they did not violate Tapia’s rights or act inappropriately by instituting the aforementioned policies.

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