Three Wins for Common Sense

Three Wins for Common Sense

In a significant win for parental rights this week, the Jurupa Unified School Board agreed to pay California teacher Jessica Tapia $360,000 to settle her lawsuit for wrongful termination. The case has drawn national attention to the plight of teachers being illegally directed by California education officials to keep secrets from parents when their child changes their gender identity at school.

Tapia was fired “after the school district refused to accommodate Jessica’s religious beliefs, which conflicted with the school district’s harmful policies, such as referring to students by their preferred pronouns and withholding information from parents regarding their child’s gender identity,” explained Advocates for Faith and Freedom, who represented Tapia, in a press release.

“What happened to me can happen to anybody, and I want the next teacher to know that it is worth it to take a stand for what is right,” said Tapia.

Earlier this month, the California Attorney General admitted in another case that California Department of Education guidelines advising school districts to lie to parents are legally unenforceable.

“Jessica’s story is one of faithful courage,” said Julianne Fleischer, legal counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom. “She fought back to ensure her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination.”

Now Tapia and the nonprofit law firm are joining forces to launch Teachers Don’t Lie, a campaign to provide educators with “a thorough understanding of their constitutional rights.”

“Jessica had the courage to stand up for teachers who rightly believe lying to parents about their children is wrong,” said Lance Christensen, California Policy Center’s Vice President of Education Policy and Government Affairs. “School administrators are on notice that if they keep secrets from parents they are are legally liable.”

Last year, the Spreckels Union School District agreed to pay California mom Jessica Konen $100,000 as part of a legal settlement after teachers secretly pressured her 11-year old daughter to “transition” to a boy at school.


In another big win this week, Yolo County Library officials will pay $70,000 as part of a settlement in Moms for Liberty-Yolo County v. Lopez. Moms for Liberty sued after staff at a local library shut down an event where speakers were making presentations about the harms of allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports.

In August 2023, the Yolo County chapter of Moms for Liberty hosted an event called “Forum on Fair and Safe Sport for Girls” in the Blanchard Community Room at the Mary L. Stephens Library in Davis, California. Sophia Lorey, the outreach director for California Family Council and a former college athlete, was giving a speech when protestors drowned her out for “misgendering.”

According to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, who filed the lawsuit along with the Institute for Free Speech:

“As Lorey tried to continue her speech, the library’s regional manager told her that if she continued to refer to male athletes as men, she would have to leave the room, and he would shut the event down. As a result, Lorey stopped her speech, and three minutes into the next speech, the regional manager told everyone to leave and turned off the projector to prevent the event from continuing.”

As part of the settlement announced this week, “library officials agreed to change their policy to mandate that staff ‘shall not interfere with presentations or other speech by individuals or groups that have reserved meeting rooms based on the content of such speech.’” Library staff will also be instructed to “curtail any disruptive behavior” during events.

“This settlement is a clear victory for free speech and the First Amendment,” said Alan Gura, Vice President for Litigation at Institute for Free Speech. “Yolo County officials tried to silence speakers and shut down an event because the ideas expressed there didn’t comport with the officials’ preferred ideology.”

“We are hopeful other public officials—whether at libraries, schools, or anywhere else—see this as an opportunity to take a strong stance for the speech and assembly rights of all Americans,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer.


And in a third victory this week, the Kern County Board of Education voted to adopt a policy to help ensure instructional materials in Kern public schools are age appropriate. The common sense policy, introduced in March by school board members Lori Cisneros and Mary Little, allows parents to submit a form to report their concerns about inappropriate material, which will then be reviewed by the superintendent’s office.

The proposal had drawn opposition from the usual suspects who tried to derail the proposal as a “book ban,” but even the superintendent rejected that characterization. The school board unanimously approved the policy Tuesday.

“We’re winning the battle for common sense government policies thanks to brave parents, teachers and school board members who are standing up for our kids,” said CPC’s Christensen.

“The fight is far from over, but the Constitution is on our side.”

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