A California high school gym teacher has been fired from the Jurupa Unified School district because of her religious beliefs on gender identity.
Although Jessica Tapias had never had a transgender student in her classes, the school district demanded that she be willing to refer to transgender students by pronouns not matching their biological sex, according to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which Tapias has hired to help her get reinstated.
“The school district further required her to agree to lie to parents who are unaware of their student’s gender identity confusion,” PJI said in a news release. “She was also ordered to permit transgender students to use locker rooms at the same time that students of the opposite sex might be changing and possibly be completely naked.”
Tapias ultimately decided her Christian beliefs would not allow her to go along with hiding students’ gender transitions from parents and lying to them. She requested a religious accommodation to the demands, and the school district subsequently fired her. PJI has submitted a discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Tapias has spoken out about her firing to Fox News, Newsmax and other outlets.
“I knew immediately, like in my gut, in my heart, in my soul, that there was a decision I had to make because, you know, these two things were totally butting heads,” she told Fox News. “I essentially had to pick one. Am I going to obey the district in the directive that [does not line up] with … my own beliefs, convictions and faith? Or am I going to stay true … choose my faith, choose to be obedient to … the way the Lord has called me to live? And so it was crazy to be in the position where I realized that I couldn’t be a Christian and a teacher.”
According to the PJI release, Tapias posted her personal views on Instagram, during her own time, about the use of pronouns and teaching gay pride to 3-year-old children, and although she didn’t identify her employer or state where she was a teacher, the post prompted an investigation and multiple hypothetical demands by the school district.
During an interview with Newsmax’s American Agenda, Tapias said that some students found her on social media and sent some of her posts to her school district. She was immediately removed from her tenured position and put on paid administrative leave while the district investigated.
“It very much feels like the school is taking on these parental responsibilities and taking away the students’ actual parents’ rights,” she said during the interview. “It’s interesting … the district asks us as educators to uphold honesty. And so, I looked them in the eye, and I wanted to be very clear, ‘Are you asking me to lie to parents,’ and they said ‘yes, it’s the law, and it’s for the students’ privacy.’ And it hit me that they want us to be honest in only … certain situations.”
According to Fox News Digital, a notice written under Superintendent Trenton Hanson’s letterhead informed Tapias that the district couldn’t accommodate her Christian beliefs, which prohibited her from withholding information on gender transitions from parents.
“Consequentially, the District will release you from your employment effective at the end of the day on Jan. 31, 2023,” the notice said.
“Based on your religious beliefs, you cannot be dishonest with parents … If asked about student gender identity by a parent, you cannot refer the parent to a counselor, defer the inquiry and suggest they speak with a student … or otherwise deflect the parent’s inquiry,” a letter, signed by the assistant superintendent of human resources, Daniel Brooks, said.
Tapias also refused to allow “male genitals” in the girls’ locker rooms.
“I don’t believe in my faith that that’s how God’s calling us to love, by affirming those lies and confusion,” she told Fox. “I believe firmly that God created man and woman, and you are who He made you to be. And when someone has confusion about that, I believe that’s lies and confusion from the devil.”
Tapias said she originally went into teaching because she loved the idea of helping and supporting kids.
“I thought how amazing it would be to be a light to [kids] possibly coming from very rough homes like I did when I was a child. And so it was just so exciting … to get to work in a field where it was just way beyond a paycheck, [where I would be] able to make a difference in a way that was priceless on young lives.”
Franklin Graham expressed his support for Tabias on Facebook.
“I appreciate this teacher!” he posted. “She has the guts to stand up for what’s right. And they have absolutely no right to fire her for it! We need many more like her … This is a crime against children. It just shows how upside down the world has become.”
Tapias has a strong case, PJI Attorney Brad Dacus told Newsmax’s American Agenda.
“We at Pacific Justice Institute in fact are taking on cases like this in the hundreds, of people of faith being purged from their jobs because of their faith. Her situation is particularly strong because it’s not about what she did in the workplace. She has a spotless record of what she does as a teacher. It’s because of her beliefs.”
Beliefs that are solid and reasonable.
“She doesn’t want to lie and use pronouns affirming something that violates her conscience and her love for those children,” Dacus said. “She doesn’t want to hide information and lie to parents. She doesn’t want to allow biological boys, teenage boys, to go into the girls’ locker room at the same time when girls could be changing, could be naked … We at Pacific Justice Institute intend to take this case as far and as long as we need to make sure there’s justice.”
Above:[High school teacher helps students studying in classroom.]
Tony Tallec/Alamy Stock Photo