A school district in Grants Pass, Oregon, has reversed itself, “unfiring” two teachers who had sought “balance” in educational policies, especially those regarding gender identity.
The word comes from Pacific Justice, which sued on behalf of teachers Rachel Damiano and Katie Medart.
Both were rehired during a 4-3 revote this week by the Grants Pass school board. They had been dismissed by the same vote in July, but board member Cliff Kuhlman reversed his vote.
The action comes seven months after the two were placed on administrative leave, and three months after they were dismissed.
“The Grants Pass School District did the right thing by reversing its very unwise decision to fire Ms. Damiano and Ms. Medart,” said their lawyer, Ray Hacke. “However, the two of them never should have been taken out of their school in the first place.”
He explained, “First Amendment jurisprudence makes abundantly clear that teachers have the same right as any other private citizen to speak on matters of public concern. By placing them on leave and then firing them, the district sent a chilling message – basically, that any employee who dares anger the woke mob will be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.”
He said the lawsuit by the teachers will continue, because the district “still has policies in place that could potentially chill their speech in the future.”
Damiano, an assistant principal at North Middle School in Grants Pass, and Medart, then a seventh-grade science teacher at NMS, last winter posted a video on their own online platform with their opinions about school policies promoting gender dysphoria.
The educators also proposed their own policies aimed at respecting teachers’ right of conscience as well as parental rights while still respecting students’ dignity.
They didn’t identify themselves as Grants Pass employees, nor did they have district logos that appeared.
But district employees who saw the video reported them, and Supt. Kirk Kolb put them on leave.
The details of the reinstatement were not immediately available, the lawyers reported.
“We at PJI are absolutely elated for Ms. Damiano and Ms. Medart,” explained PJ President Brad Dacus. ‘They are dedicated teachers who care very much about their students. They did not deserve to be thrown under the bus for sharing ideas that some of their more liberal colleagues vehemently disagreed with, but which many others would consider common sense.”
WND reported when they were dismissed that the teachers had developed, with the knowledge of and approval of school officials, a way to address the surging transgender demands in a way that would protect student, parent and teacher rights.
Their dismissals in July had followed their being placed on leave in March.
The teachers were told at the time that five other school workers had complained that their Christian beliefs were “anti-transgender” and therefore unacceptable.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.