Friday, January 27

Fired Christian teacher sues Ohio school district; claims she was “harmed” when asked to use students’ pronouns

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A Christian middle school teacher filed a lawsuit against an Ohio school district on Monday, alleging that she was “harmed” by being “forced” to participate in the “social transition” of children, which runs contrary to “her scientific understanding and her Christian faith.”

And what has caused the teacher such harm? The school asked staff to use students’ names/pronouns.

According to her lawsuit against the Jackson Local School District Board of Education, Vivian Geraghty of Canton has worked for the last 20 years as an English Language Arts teacher at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon, approximately eight miles west of Canton in northeast Ohio.

Geraghty says that on August 16, 2022, two separate students requested to be addressed by names different from those held on file with the school. One student asked Geraghty to use pronouns that Geraghty felt were “inconsistent with the student’s sex.”

The lawsuit enumerates multiple reasons Geraghty failed to accommodate her students:

  • Geraghty has sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Geraghty’s faith teaches her that “God immutably creates each person as male or female; these two distinct, complementary sexes reflect the image of God.”
  • Geraghty says using students’ names/pronouns would be “immoral, dishonest, and harmful.”

Geraghty says she approached the school principal looking for a solution, but was told that she needed to comply with the school’s approach of honoring these students’ requests.

After Geraghty told the principal that she had no plans to comply, she said she was handed a computer, told to draft her resignation letter and escorted out of the building.

Jackson Local School District provided The Buckeye Flame with the following statement:

“The Jackson Local School District is aware of this lawsuit. This district always will 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.”

Geraghty is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The lawsuit alleges that Geraghty has been “harmed” by the “impossible choice of either violating her religious beliefs and speaking words her conscience forbids” or losing her job.

She is suing on grounds that the school violated her freedom of speech, right to due process and free exercise of religion.

In addition to detailing Geraghty’s claims, the lawsuit filing cribs numerous disproven talking points from the conservative anti-trans playbook, including misinformation about puberty blockers, trans women in athletics, and students being “harmed” by using their pronouns. 🔥

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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