MASSILLON, Ohio (WJW) — A lawsuit was filed by a former teacher against the Jackson Local School District Monday.
According to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, attorneys filed the lawsuit in federal court for Vivian Geraghty. She says she is challenging the district’s application, “of an unconstitutional policy requiring teachers to personally participate in the “social transition” of students who express a gender identity inconsistent with their sex by using the students’ preferred names and pronouns.”
Geraghty taught English at Jackson Memorial Middle School until district officials forced her to resign in August. The release says Geraghty was forced to resign because she wanted to refrain from speaking in a way that would violate her religious beliefs.
According to the release, the controversy began when two students asked Geraghty to respect their social transition. This included using new names and pronouns to reflect the gender identities of both students.
The school counselor e-mailed Geraghty and several other teachers with instructions on how to participate in the students’ social transitions.
According to the release, Geraghty then approached the principal to try and reach a solution. She said she wanted to, “Teach her class without personally affirming as true things that she believes are false and harmful,” the release said.
According to the release, the principal and the school district’s director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, told Geraghty that “she would be required to put her beliefs aside as a public servant.”
According to the release, district officials told Geraghty if she would not participate in the students’ social transitions, she must resign immediately.
Geraghty said she believes forcing her to resign violated her rights under the First Amendment.
Jackson Local Schools later release a statement saying the district is aware of the lawsuit, but will always strive to provide a safe, comfortable environment for all of its students.
Full statement from Jackson Local Schools:
“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.”