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Lawsuit Says Ohio Teacher Was Forced to Resign after Refusing to Refer to Students with Preferred Pronouns

Middle School Teacher Forced To Resign

A middle school teacher in Ohio filed a lawsuit the week of December 17th, 2022, due to being forced to resign following her refusing to address two of her students by their preferred names and pronouns. The teacher, Vivian Geraghty, has also sued her former District, School Board, and the education officials.

Geraghty was an English teacher at Jackson Memorial Middle school in Massillon, roughly 50 miles south of Cleveland. She joined the institution from August 2020 up until August 2022. Her lawsuit stated that she refused to abide by the requests made by two of her students who wanted the teacher to refer to them by “names associated with their new gender identities rather than their legal names.” One student reportedly asked to be called by a pronoun that was inconsistent with the student’s gender.

A week after the students’ requests, the school’s counselor notified Geraghty and many teachers to abide by their requests. According to the lawsuit, Geraghty vehemently refused citing that “according to her Christian faith… rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person,” and that going against that belief would be “immoral.” CBS news even reported that she also said in the lawsuit that acceptance of gender identity that is different from their biological sex is “harmful to the child because it is untrue.”

Following her denial to the request, the school’s principal, Kacy Carter on August 26th 2022 together with the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, Monica Myers, said they attempted to reach a solution that would allow her to continue teaching without disrespecting her beliefs. The lawsuit later read that they told her that she was “required to put her beliefs aside as a public servant,” and Geraghty said she could not. That refusal amounted to insubordination, and they allegedly told her that she would have to resign.

Geraghty wrote a letter of resignation on the same day where she claimed ‘’irreconcilable differences’ as the reason for her abrupt departure.
She then said, “I was asked to conform to students’ gender identities that opposed my religious beliefs. Unequivocally and unapologetically, I will not do so,” she said in the letter. “While some may say this is forcing my beliefs on others, I say this is standing up for the mission that every teacher should fight for.”

She further said, “I understand that it is not my place to force my religious beliefs on others… However, there are lines that I will not cross, as they would violate my conscience and my God.”
The lawsuit even indicated that the school did not give her an alternative option, such as moving her class.

The Jackson local school district later stated that it [will] “always strive to provide a safe, comfortable environment for all of our nearly 6,000 students in which to learn.”

“We have engaged legal counsel, and we will have no further comment on pending litigation,” the district said in a statement signed by Board of Education president Christopher Goff.

In a letter addressed to the community’s parents and staff members, Goff said the board has “no intention of trying this suit in the court of public opinion.”
However, Goff did say that the school board prioritizes student safety and creating “the best possible learning environment while respecting individual and cultural differences.”

Geraghty filed her lawsuit on December 12th 2022 with representation by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy organization that describes itself as “committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics have explained how, according to them, sex and gender identity are two different categories, with gender being ‘’one’s internal sense of who one is’. The AAP even claims that respecting identity can help support children’s mental health.

Others have argued, however, that gender pronouns preferences from a young age can mislead and confuse a young child since they cannot make up their minds yet on such a pivotal aspect of their lives. While other parents are fully accepting their kids’ orientations before their childrens’ ability to even read or write, others are increasingly concerned at the risks which come with embracing their child’s wants, most of which arguably stem from fantasy they picked from somewhere which can eventually harm their mental health and life choices.

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  • Zamena Manekia Manji

    Zamena Manekia Manji is a breaking news writer for TMJ News with experience of over 10 years in the field. Her areas of focus are important breaking stories in North America specifically untold stories from a minority lens.

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