A substitute teacher at a public intermediate school in Lumberton, Texas has reportedly been suspended for being transgender because of parent complaints.
Laura Jane Klug was working as a substitute teacher for fifth graders when she was told that parents were concerned about her teaching her kids. These complaints that were confirmed by at least one father who spoke with local outlets KFDM and 12 News Now. He said:
"If it does affect my child and his ability to learn or if it causes questions that I don't feel are appropriate then undoubtedly there's an issue with having somebody transgender, transsexual or transvestite, to be teaching that age group."
"Within an hour of them being exposed or dealing with this, there's a few issues here, I think these kids are too young for this issue, so that's our main focus is, if it happens in older grades, high school, ok but too young for this."
To use a popular local news transition phrase, other parents feel differently. Like this mother:
"I'm more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am about somebody who lives an alternative private lifestyle. I don't worry about my son."
According to Klug, she's never had any issues with students. "I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school," Klug said. There is a public school board meeting Thursday evening to discuss whether Klug will stay on where angry (and supportive) parents will likely express their frustrations. The school board will vote privately on the matter afterwards.
As Al Jazeera points out, a teacher in Yosemite, California who is transitioning is dealing with a similar issue right now, however in California, unlike in Texas, it is illegal to discriminate against an educator because of their gender identity. Typically, stories like this in which teachers and students have been fired or threatened with expulsion for being gay or transgender or just plain different have occurred at private, often religious institutions. While it's no less upsetting that those institutions are displaying discriminatory practices, it's especially frustrating to see the same thing happen at public schools funded by government money from those American tax dollars we all love so much.
Image via Facebook and screenshot via KFDM