Two Christian educators in Oregon have filed a federal lawsuit after their district put them on leave for disagreeing with pro-transgender locker room and pronoun policies.
Rachel Damiano is the assistant principal at North Middle School in Grants Pass, where Katie Medart teaches science. Their district adopted a "gender identity" education policy that would require the two educators to violate their deeply held religious convictions. Pacific Justice Institute attorney Brad Dacus explains the situation.
"This school is allowing males to go into girls' bathrooms if they say that they feel like they are the other gender – that is, that they have gender identity dysphoria," he tells One News Now. "Also, the school is one where they want the teacher to [use] the pronouns for the child as the child wishes."
On Thursday afternoon, Pacific Justice Institute announced that for the second time this week, it had filed suit against the Grants Pass School District on behalf of a middle-school teacher whose free-speech rights were violated.
Ryan Clark, a teacher and a devout Christian, spends many of his off hours engaging in open-air evangelism at various events and locations in Grants Pass.
After Clark was absolved of any wrongdoing by his school principal, district officials saw fit to try and restrict the educator from speaking at youth gatherings within the district's boundaries.
The situation is similar to that faced – and surmounted – by Virginia teacher Tanner Cross just this week.
Damiano and Medart started a website called "I Resolve" that they say offers a "reasonable, loving and tolerant solution" to the impasse. But the Grants Pass School District promptly put the pair on leave after they posted a video on their own platform promoting the proposed solutions. Dacus' legal firm has now filed a federal lawsuit on the educators' behalf.
"They have basic free-speech rights to express themselves – particularly outside the classroom, in their personal capacity," the PJI founder states. "For them to be allowed to be punished or terminated because of their expression of their opinion would be a serious violation of the First Amendment."
Dacus says schools across the country are adopting similar policies, putting Christian educators and parents in a bind. More than ever, he says, parents – "for the sake of their children" – need to seriously consider alternatives to public education.
A district investigation into the educators' status is set to conclude before the school year officially ends today.
6/11/2021 - Sidebar added.