California teachers sue school district for forcing them to mislead parents about their children's gender identity

The educators allege violation of their rights under the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

Two California high school teachers have decided to sue the State Board of Education and their school district for allegedly forcing them to hide from parents whether their children want to change their gender.

Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West are the teachers who filed the lawsuit against Rincon Middle School, Escondido Union School District (EUSD) and the California State Board of Education.

The educators, who have been working for the school for decades, allege that they were required to validate the children’s gender identities regardless of whether or not they had parental consent. “The student’s assertion is enough. There is no need for a formal declaration. There’s no requirement for parent or caretaker agreement or even for knowledge for us to begin treating that student consistent with their gender identity,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint also states that during school hours, pronouns and names chosen by students should be used, while when talking to parents, biological pronouns and legal names should be used unless they have the minor’s consent.

In addition, the school required teachers to avoid inquiries from parents who are suspicious about their children’s intentions to change their gender identities and requested that they only discuss “information regarding the student’s behavior as it relates to school, class rules, assignments, etc.”

Religious adaptation

Mirabelli and West are devout Christians and therefore were able to obtain a religious accommodation on the use of pronouns and student-choice names, but both were denied the request for accommodation so as not to lie to parents, so they now claim violation of their rights under the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.