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Texas Trans Teacher Triumphs, May Teach Teens

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Apr 11, 2014

After being suspended by Lumberton Intermediary School in Texas, transgender teacher Laura Jane Klug was returned to the roster of substitute teachers, as reported by the Beaumont Enterprise.

"I am re-instated!," wrote Klug on Let Her Teach, a Facebook page created to support her. The 52-year-old woman did not speak on her behalf in a school board meeting that addressed her suspension, which she discovered unexpectedly last week and attributed to discrimination.

Klug told the Transgender Advocate that "The school was fully aware of my transgender status when they hired me. I made a point of making that clear to them by showing them my legal documents. I wanted to make it clear why my name and gender marker differs on my employment history."

But when the teacher went online last Tuesday to check her teaching assignments, there were no listings. "I had been meaning to talk to HR, but when I went there... I was told without being given a reason that they wanted to meet with me that afternoon. That afternoon my employment was pending review, and I wouldn't be allowed to teach again until they had reached a decision."

Noting that there were no classroom incidents that would have led to her suspension, had reasons to believe that someone outside the school made an issue of her trans status, "out of bigotry."

Allies rallied to Klug's support via the Facebook page Let Her Teach, where she plead for support, saying, "Emotions will be running high at this evenings meeting. I ask that you, my friends, neighbors and supporters, keep a level head, maintain control and be intelligent in your delivery of your opinions."

The Beaumont Enterprise noted that 13 people addressed the school board during that regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday, speaking both for and against her. Superintendent John Valastro said that no decision would be made in open session because the issue wasn't on the school board agenda. But the board adjourned to an executive session, and told Klug the next morning that she would be retained as a substitute.

The quick response by the board was unexpected, but Planet Transgender speculates that firing Klug for her transgender status would have left the school open to an EEOC complaint and possible lawsuit.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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