Two Christian teachers who refused to participate in their school’s attempt to shield gender identity changes from parents have been reinstated by a federal judge after months on administrative leave.

Judge Robert Benitez last week ordered the Escondido Union School District to allow Rincon Middle School teachers Lori Ann West and Elizabeth Mirabelli back to work, following up on a September ruling that found the district’s policies violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

West and Mirabelli were placed on paid administrative leave in May over their objections to a district policy that required teachers to get students’ consent before discussing their gender identity with their parents, KSWB reports.

The policy required teachers to refer to students by their preferred names and pronouns at school, but to revert to their biological pronouns and legal names when discussing matters with their parents if a student doesn’t consent.

The teachers were initially granted a religious exemption for using pronouns, but officials demanded they abide by the new policy, according to National Review.

“They learned about this policy that was being enforced that would require them to hide material information about their students from the student’s parents, and in many cases to lie to the parents,” the teachers’ attorney, Paul Jonna, told KSWB. “They just wanted to continue their jobs without having to comply with an illegal and unconstitutional policy.”

Benitez issued an injunction against the district’s policy over potential constitutional violations in September, but district officials did not immediately reinstate West and Mirabelli, she said.

“When the case was first filed, there was some retaliation and harassment directed at our clients,” Jonna said. “The investigation was supposed to be concluded in 30 days. It ended up taking over five months after the injunction issued. They told us the investigation was cleared, and then conveniently, the very next day or couple days later, they said, a new complaint had been made against Lori and she’s going to be placed on leave again.”

A motion to hold the district in contempt of the September decision prompted Benito to order the district to put the teachers back to work, though he denied the motion.

Jonna described the ruling as “a warning to them if they violate his orders again, it’s going to be much more serious.”

West told KSWB she was “shocked” by last week’s ruling.

“I’m still processing. I cannot believe it,” she said, adding that she’s excited to return and holds no animosity toward the district.

“Maybe they thought they were doing right thing – they think they’re protecting kids and I think I am protecting kids,” West said. “We have a different point of view and that’s OK.”

Jeffery Trissell, another attorney with the Thomas More Society who worked on the case, told American Family News “Mrs. Mirabelli [is] still trying to figure out how to get back into the classroom and deal with the harassment.”

Trissell described Benito’s 36-page order, which outlines why requiring teachers to deceive parents is constitutional, as “one of the first steps in the right direction” regarding school policies on student gender preferences.

The lawsuit is one of several involving school transgender policies in California and beyond. In August, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley School District over a policy requiring educators to inform parents when their children identify as transgender, the National Review reports.

“The forced outing policy wrongfully endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of non-conforming students who lack an accepting environment in the classroom and at home,” Bonta said in a statement at the time. “Our message to Chino Valley Unified and all school districts in California is loud and clear: We will never stop fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students.”

Chino Valley school board president Sonja Shaw told the Washington Free Beacon the lawsuit “is government overreach and the political cartel of Bonta, [Gov. Gavin] Newsom, and [State Superintendent Tony] Thurmond … using their muscle and taxpayer dollars to shut parents out of their children’s lives.”