U.S.
Getty Images

Texas school suspends teacher for being transgender

A transgender substitute teacher in Lumberton, Texas, is put on leave after parents said she was a distraction

Laura Jane Klug, a substitute schoolteacher in Lumberton, Texas, was suspended from teaching on Tuesday for being transgender, local CBS affiliate KFDM reported.

The public school district where she worked confirmed to the affiliate that Klug had been put on leave, pending a school board decision.

A group of concerned parents complained to the Lumberton Intermediate School that Klug could be a distraction to the students, according to another local news station.

"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," Roger Beard, a father of a fifth grade student whose class Klug was subbing, told a reporter.

Klug told local reporters that she had substituted at the school in the past without incident.

"I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school," she said.

Texas has no protections for employees on the basis of gender identity. The public will be able to comment at a school board meeting on Thursday where Klug's future with the school district will be discussed.

Klug is not the only transgender schoolteacher to face challenges because of her gender identity. In Oakhurst, Calif., a Yosemite High School teacher, Karen Adell Scot, is in the process of transitioning to a woman and will return to the school on April 22 as such.

After news of her plans made the California press, the Sierra Star newspaper published a letter from a local community member calling the teacher’s decision “an assault on the minds and moral of our children” and urging her to quit her job.

California, unlike Texas, outlaws discrimination on the basis of gender, gender expression and gender identity within the state education system. According to the principal of Yosemite High School, Scot is not in danger of losing her job.

In a letter to her colleagues, Scot asked for support, writing "it will be a difficult challenge as the kids can be very supportive and also very cruel."

Al Jazeera

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter