Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lumberton ISD Trans Teacher Reinstated

Laura Jane Klug52 year old Laura Jane Klug had been a substitute teacher in the Lumberton Independent School District near Beaumont teaching without incident until last week.  Some transphobic parents complained after she substitute taught a fifth grade class at Lumberton Middle School and ignited a kerfluffle that roiled the area.

“I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school,” Klug was quoted as saying in a 12News story.

She also told Lone Star Q in an interview that she suspects it was one of her neighbors who outed her and contacted the media.

After meeting with Lumberton ISD Superintendent John Valastro she was suspended pending a meeting held on Thursday to determine whether she can continue to teach in LISD. 

As the story began to get national attention, Valastro then claimed Klug wasn't suspended as TBLG people in Southeast Texas and the rest of the state mobilized in response to the unjust treatment of Klug.  

Lambda Legal, and Equality Texas pointed out that LISD was in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled in Macy v. Holder that the provision covers transgender people. In addition, courts have ruled that government employers can’t discriminate against LGBT people due to the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

MeetingThe PFLAG Beaumont chapter sprang into action to coordinate a rally that happened before the 7 PM LISD board meeting that would determine Klug's teaching fate.  

That Thursday board meeting happened in front of an overflow crow in which the purple clad supporters of Klug outnumbered the transphobes.

After 13 speakers pro and con expressed themselves during the 30 minute public comment period, the LISD board went into a lengthy closed session to discuss her fate..

Klug was informed that she was reinstated, but told not to apply for the first open position in LISD until Superintendent Valastro meets with the district's principals on Monday.

“Hopefully this is going to be a really good learning moment for everybody involved,” Klug said. “It’s certainly an opportunity for principals to address the issue of people who are gender-nonconforming. Also, it might encourage somebody who is questioning their gender to maybe come forward.”

Whether Lumberton ISD was motivated by doing the right thing by Klug or a possible lawsuit is a moot point.   The bottom line is in this instance, the evil instigated by whatever transphobic troll jumped this off did not triumph and Laura Jane Klug is still able to teach. 

TransGriot Update:  Upon further review, looks like LISD is backsliding and trying to run out the school year clock on Ms. Klug.

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