Teacher Fired for Biblical Beliefs Achieves Partial Victory

The Jurupa Unified School District in California agreed to pay a Christian teacher $360,000 in settlement after she was fired for refusing to use pronouns unrelated to students’ biological sex. However, as part of the settlement, she cannot seek future employment in the Jurupa District.

Her case reveals the ideological hostility that awaits many educators as school districts across the country grapple with gender politics and loyal teachers try to defend their constitutional rights of conscience and religious beliefs.

Jessica Tapia, a former high school teacher at Jurupa Valley High School, was fired in January last year for posts on her personal Instagram account that expressed her Christian faith and other related beliefs, which both students and the district racist, offensive and racist. disrespectful and transphobic.

Tapia had a glowing reputation as a school district employee and was reportedly well-liked by students and parents. She did not impose her beliefs on her students, but answered questions about her faith when asked. She had never been asked to use a specific student’s preferred pronouns, and it had never been an issue until the district became aware of her beliefs through social media.

The district then demanded that she refer to students by their preferred pronouns, stop sharing her beliefs on social media and stop talking to her students about the Bible. She refused to follow the guidelines, and the district failed to provide religious accommodations and fired her.

Advocates for Faith and Freedom (AFF), representing Tapia, filed suit against the school district in May 2023. The settlement reached last week involves the district paying Tapia $285,000 in damages and $75,000 in attorneys’ fees in exchange for her no longer seeking employment with the district.

“Today’s settlement reminds us that religious freedom is protected regardless of your career,” said Julianne Fleischer, legal counsel for AFF. “If the school district’s actions were legal, no teacher of faith would be qualified to serve as a public school teacher. Jessica’s story is one of faithful courage. She fought back to ensure that her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher would have to succumb to this type of discrimination.”

Tapia said, “What happened to me could happen to anyone, and I want the next teacher to know that standing up for what is right is worth it. Across the country, we see teachers’ freedom of speech and religion being violated by policies that require them to abandon their morals. I want teachers to be confident that the best we can do for students is to teach truth, not deception.”

Photo: Screenshot / Seth Gruber / YouTube