Teachers still battling California district that locked them out over their refusal to lie on trans policies

Two teachers are asking a federal district judge to cite the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) for contempt, after keeping the pair locked out of classes over transgender…

Two teachers are asking a federal district judge to cite the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) for contempt, after keeping the pair locked out of classes over transgender policies. 

EUSD has refused to allow teachers Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West to return to the classroom after they filed a federal lawsuit against the district policy that promotes lying to parents when children have gender dysphoria. 

“Parents should not be left out of their child’s school life. What parent would want that?” Mirabelli said in an interview, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. 

In September, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the district from enacting policies that would stop teachers from discussing with their parents gender dysphoria exhibited by kids, reported local NBC News San Diego. 

Furthermore, the judge enjoined the district from “taking any adverse employment actions thereupon against Plaintiffs Mirabelli or West, until further Order of this Court,” according to a copy of the order. 

At the time the judge issued the injunction, the district simply commented that the EUSD “leadership team is currently reviewing the decision,” said NBC San Diego. 

Thomas More Society attorney Paul Jonna, who is representing Mirabelli and West, said “irreparable harm” has been done to his clients because the district has refused to allow the two teachers to teach. 

“Quite simply, we expected that EUSD would quickly bring Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West back into the classroom,” said Jonna in a statement. “In issuing the injunction, the Court recognized that being precluded from doing your job is ‘irreparable harm’—harm that can never be undone. But the district has refused to bring them back into the classroom.” 

In their application for the contempt citation, the plaintiffs said they hope EUSD will comply with the injunction, making the contempt order unnecessary. 

In May, Fox News reported on allegations that the two teachers had been harassed by students and district employees. The harassment started after the pair filed the original suit disagreeing with the secretive gender policies that kept parents in the dark.   

Mirabelli said she has been maligned as sexist, racist, homophobic, a hater and against trans people, thus responsible for their high suicide rate, said Fox.   

Small polemical posters, seemingly made by students with the help of adults, appeared in classrooms, after Marabelli filed the original suit.  

The posters included cruel messages such as “Have a despicable day”; “Be Accepting It’s 2023,” and; “I thought school was a place where we can be accepted, not judged by sexists and racists.” 

Mirabelli faulted the district for allowing other teachers to bully her.  

“Instead of protecting me and attempting to calm things down, Rincon Middle School allowed various teachers to either directly harass me for this lawsuit or use students as intermediaries to harass me,” Mirabelli alleged in a sworn statement. 

In the lawsuit, both plaintiffs said that they have religious objections to the practice of lying to parents. They sought relief from enforcement of that policy under the right to free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment. 

But they also argue EUSD’s policies are extremely impractical, confusing and teachers should not be required to implement them. 

Included as an exhibit in the lawsuit is an email from the school’s guidance counselor with a list of seven children who have different preferred pronouns than those assigned by their biological sex at birth.  

In six of the seven cases, one or both parents are not aware of the gender dysphoria.  

This requires the teachers to use one pronoun at school and another pronoun when speaking with the parents.  

“In practice, compliance with EUSD’s gender identity policies has been extremely difficult and has led to frustrating situations,” said the suit. “As noted above, all of the transgender or gender diverse students are biologically female. Many continue to wear makeup and dresses to school despite identifying as either nonbinary or male.”  

In addition to asking the judge to cite the district for contempt and allow the teachers to go back to work, the plaintiffs are also seeking attorney fees, said the contempt application.