California middle school teacher Elizabeth Mirabelli is suing the school district for allegedly forcing her to deceive parents about students’ gender identity. Mirabelli claims that the school’s policy, which she believes teaches children to be deceptive, violates her Christian faith. The lawsuit accuses the K-8 school district of mandating teachers to accept a child’s transgender or gender diverse identity and hide it from their families. Teachers were instructed to use students’ preferred names and pronouns in school but revert to their biological names and pronouns when speaking with parents.
Mirabelli says she discovered that students’ names were being changed in official school records without parental knowledge or consent. She requested a religious accommodation to avoid the policy but was granted only partial accommodation. She sued on First Amendment grounds after the school denied her request to be exempt from the aspect of the policy excluding parents. Mirabelli believes that teachers who comply with the policy are weakening the bond between parents and children, teaching that manipulation and lying are acceptable behaviors.
Escondido Union School District (EUSD) superintendent Dr. Luis A. Rankins-Ibarra maintains that the district is committed to providing a safe and positive environment for students and teachers, observing all federal and state laws. Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Jonna, representing Mirabelli, believes this case could pave the way for similar cases, potentially reaching the Supreme Court and settling the issue nationally.