Jurupa Unified Settles Religious Freedom Lawsuit with Teacher Who Flouted Transgender Rules

The Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County has agreed to settle a lawsuit with a former teacher who refused to follow district policy on transgender students, citing her religious beliefs. Although it admits no wrongdoing, JUSD will pay Jessica Tapia $285,000 plus another $75,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Tapia was represented in her lawsuit by Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a conservative nonprofit that specializes in “protecting constitutional and religious liberty in the courts.” 

Lawyers argued that the district violated Tapia’s Christian beliefs when it fired her for refusing to follow new trans student policies. These include referring to students by their preferred pronouns, allowing them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, and keeping quiet about religious beliefs with students and on social media.

Since Tapia would not comply with these rules, she not only lost her job, but was unable to pursue any other employment opportunities with the district.

“People of faith should be allowed to maintain their personal beliefs without fear of losing their job,” Mariah Gondeiro, vice president of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, previously said of the lawsuit. “Jessica Tapia was not dismissed for any wrongdoing, rather, she was dismissed for her Christian beliefs. This is a clear violation of our Constitutional rights.”

JUSD says the settlement was “in the best interest of the students.”


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