Two southern Oregon teachers are suing a school district which sacked them for expressing their concerns about gender ideology in schools.
Rachel Sager and Katie Medart started a grassroots movement called I Resolve to speak out on gender identity education policy. Using their own time and resources, they tried to offer solutions that would allow teachers to continue teaching without violating their beliefs. They also advocated for the rights of parents to control their children’s upbringing and education.
Their proposals would allow teachers to abide by their conscience and refrain from using pronouns inconsistent with a student’s biological sex. The I Resolve movement advocates for locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to be designated consistent with their DNA-based gender. It also endorses and gives students the option to request access to private restrooms and locker rooms.
CBN News reports that after receiving multiple complaints, the school sacked the teachers before reinstating them in inferior roles. A district court then dismissed their lawsuit, ruling that the school had the right to demote them, despite their lawyers arguing it was in breach of their free speech rights.
Working together, attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have now filed an 84-page opening brief on behalf of the two Oregon educators, urging the US Court of Appeals to protect their First Amendment right to free speech and religion.
“The district court assumed facts against Rachel and Katie by holding that any complaints established disruption, no matter that the complaints objected to Rachel and Katie’s views expressed while off campus and off duty, Disagreement with a disfavoured political stance or controversial viewpoint, by itself, is not a valid reason to curtail expression of that viewpoint at a public school,” the brief explained.
“Public schools can’t retaliate against educators for expressing opinions on fundamental issues of public concern like gender identity education policy, that implicate the freedoms of educators, parents, and students. Rachel and Katie spoke while off campus and off duty, but the school district used its over-reaching speech policy to punish them for expressing their beliefs,” ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann asserted.
“School officials actively solicited negative comments from staff and students after Rachel and Katie expressed their opinions, yet the lower court failed to acknowledge this clear violation of their speech and religious rights,” Mr. Hoffman argued.
“All educators should be free to advocate for solutions they believe in, and we urge the Appeals Court to make clear that government employers can’t discipline someone for expressing her views on such an important issue,” he continued.
Brad Dacus, president and founder of PJI said: “Educators who advocate for common sense and parental involvement should be applauded, not punished. We are privileged to stand alongside these brave educators and continue fighting for them in court.
Image: Screenshot from YouTube – I Resolve Movement