A California teacher has said she was fired for refusing to withhold students’ gender identities from their parents, claiming the school district discriminated against her Christian beliefs.
Jessica Tapia, who taught physical education in the Jurupa Unified School District, was fired Jan. 31 after stating she refused to comply with the district’s gender policy, she told Fox News Digital in an interview Wednesday.
Tapia claimed her firing was discriminatory and accused the district of failing to accommodate her religious beliefs, including her belief that non-conforming gender identities are “lies and confusions of the devil.”
“It was crazy to be in the position where I realized I couldn’t be a Christian and a teacher,” she said. “I actually had to choose one.”
In a statement, the school district denied that Tapia was discriminated against because of her religion, noting that California law prohibits schools from letting transgender children out to relatives without the student’s consent.
Jessica Tapia claims school officials discriminated against her religion after she was fired for refusing to withhold students’ gender identities from their parents
Jurupa Unified School District Superintendent Trenton Hansen is seen above. District officials note that it is illegal to release transgender children to their families without permission
“The Jurupa Unified School District is committed to providing all students and staff with a learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment,” a district spokesperson told DailyMail.com in a statement, citing obligations under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. .
According to California’s Department of Education, a state law that took effect in 2014 requires schools to consult a transgender student before disclosing their gender identity to protect the student’s privacy.
“With rare exceptions, schools are required to respect any restrictions a student places on disclosing their transgender status, including not sharing that information with the student’s parents,” the department said in a statement.
“Disclosing a student’s gender identity or expression to others may jeopardize the student’s safety,” the commentator noted.
The same law also requires California schools to allow students access to the restrooms and locker rooms that match their stated gender identity.
Tapia said she also refused to abide by that policy, saying she didn’t want “male genitalia” in the girls’ locker room.
Tapia has been teaching gym for six years, but told Fox News Digital she only became aware of the state’s longstanding gender policy requirements during a recent and unspecified workplace survey.
“I knew right away, like in my gut, in my heart, in my soul, that there was a decision I had to make because, you know, these two things were totally clashing,” she told the outlet.
Tapia has been teaching gym for six years but said she was only aware of long-standing gender policy requirements for schools in the state of California
“I firmly believe that God created male and female, and that you are who he made you. And if anyone has any confusion about that, I believe that is lies and confusion from the devil,” Tapia added.
Tapia did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Wednesday afternoon.
Fox News Digital said it reviewed a message under the letterhead of Jurupa Unified School District Superintendent Trenton Hansen that read, “The district cannot accommodate your religious beliefs that … prohibit you from maintaining and decreasing a student’s gender identity.” of revealing a student’s gender identity from his/her/their parent(s)/guardians.’
“Based on your religious beliefs, you cannot be unfair to parents… If a parent asks you about a student’s gender identity, you cannot refer the parent to a counselor, delay the investigation, and propose to work with a student to talk…, or otherwise divert the investigation away from the parent,” said the letter, signed by Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Daniel Brooks.
Tapia said she had hired a lawyer and planned to sue, claiming her firing was an act of religious discrimination.
“The district denies Ms. Tapia’s allegations. The district takes seriously its obligation to accommodate the religious beliefs of its employees,” school officials said in a statement.
At the same time, the district is required to comply with all local, state and federal laws, including anti-discrimination laws and laws protecting students’ right to privacy, that are in place to protect the nearly 2,500 employees and 18,000 students we serve. We are unable to comment further on human resources matters,” the statement said.
“Under the education code, students have the right to use facilities consistent with their gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on their file,” a district spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
State and federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title IX, also protect students and staff and require the district to provide a discrimination-free learning environment.
‘Finally, all students and staff have the right to privacy under the constitutions of the United States and California. While individuals may choose to disclose their personal information to the public, the district is prohibited from doing so,” the statement said.