Laura Jane Klug has worked as a substitute teacher in the Lumberton Independent School District in Texas, but was recently suspended from her job after parents started to complain. Why the complaints? It doesn’t appear that it had anything to do with Klug’s capabilities as a teacher, but rather becauseshe’s transgender, as KBMT 12 News reports.
KBMT spoke with Ms. Klug. She says that the district’s superintendent, John Valastro, suspended her and that whether she would continue working within the school system would be a matter decided by the school board. Klug says she has substituted before without issue and doesn’t know what instigated her suspension. She told KBMT, “I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school.”
The complaints are coming from parents like Roger Beard. Beard spoke with KBTV Fox 4 News and said that he wasn’t comfortable discussing transgender people with his child. He told the station, “Within an hour of them being exposed, or dealing with this, there’s a few issues here, that I think is too young, these kids are too young for this issue.” He also told KBMT, “There’s some things we can accept in society, that children are not going to accept the same way that we do.” Neither station mentioned whether Beard felt like he was hindering his child’s ability to “accept” a transgender person by demanding one’s removal from their position.
Other people in the Lumberton area are displeased that Klug has had to deal with any of this. Donna Jackson told KBMT, “I think it’s awful. My heart goes out to this woman and I’m really sad that things like that still go on.” Jammie Marcantel, the mother of a 5th grader echoed Jackson’s sentiments in her interview with KBTV, saying, “My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that. I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am of somebody who lives an alternative private lifestyle.”
As for Klug’s fate, the Lumberton ISD school board will make a decision whether to fire her, but believes there will be plenty of conversation over the matter at an open forum on Thursday’s school board meeting.
UPDATE 4/10/2014 9:58 PM PDT