Posted For: Willie Wonka
A California teacher was terminated from her position allegedly because she refused to read books about same-sex marriage to students aged one to five years old, according to a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society.
Educator Nelli Parinsenkova is suing Bright Horizons, a nationwide childcare facility, for alleged religious discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, according to a press release from her lawyers. Parinsenkova worked at the Bright Horizons Studio City location in California for four years.
The litigation claims that after the Studio City location director discovered Parinsenkova’s Christian beliefs she “enforced company policy requiring all teachers to support and promote celebrations of ‘diversity’ including same-sex marriage to children in the care program.”
Parinsenkova claims the childcare center’s director harassed her, had a security guard escort her from the building “like a dangerous criminal,” and eventually fired her after she requested accommodations to not read LGBT books to students in accordance with her religion.
The strain between the two parties reportedly began in April 2018 when Parinsenkova discovered that the classroom she worked in had LGBT books. The educator claimed in her lawsuit that she expressed concern and was given “an informal accommodation that she would not be required to read books to the children promoting same-sex marriage.”
Four years later, in April 2022, the location’s director uncovered Parisenkova’s religious beliefs and reported her to the human resources department, according to the lawsuit. The director, who is a lesbian, reportedly took “personal offense” at Parisenkova’s religious beliefs.
“Bright Horizons did not engage in any negotiations and made no attempt whatsoever to determine whether a reasonable accommodation could be reached,” the lawsuit reads. “Instead, Bright Horizons issued a counseling memo with false statements, terminated her life-insurance benefits, required her to complete retraining in diversity issues, and encouraged her to resign her position.”
Attorney Paul Jonna, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, said in a press release that Parinsenkova’s termination was “unethical” and “blatantly illegal.”
“Make sure you know what books are on the shelf in our children’s care programs and schools,” Jonna said. “This is a clear-cut case of one of the largest childcare employers in the country having anti-religious workplace policies that promote indoctrination of young children with the LGBT agenda.”