After being suspended amidst a public outcry from parents, a male substitute teacher making a transition to female was reinstated to a position at Lumberton Independent School District in Texas.
Education watchdog David Bellows, who has worked to expose education controversies in the small town, told WND it was “ideologically driven” administrators who canceled plans to keep the teacher, Laura Jane Klug, formerly Kurt, out of the classrooms.
Bellows reported his younger brother had been in class with Klug.
Klug was elated at the news.
“I am re-instated!” Klug, 52, wrote on a Facebook group. According to 12 News in Lumberton, Supt. John Valastro reinstated Klug after explaining no decision could be made by the school board because the issue was not on the agenda.
He cited a need to “do what is right according to the law.”
Texas statutes make no provision for transgender persons or those of alternate sexual orientation to obtain or retain employment because of these classifications.
Others are less enthused either for or against Klug’s suspension. State Board of Education Member member David Bradley said Klug is in a distinct classification because he is a substitute.
Substitutes, he noted, “are not under contract.”
“The district just fails to call him for the next day’s work,” he said.
At Thursday’s board meeting, even though the subject was not on the agenda, Lumberton trustees permitted the public to comment.
While furious parents unleashed heated rhetoric, according to observers, Bellows said, “It was dominated by gay activists who took over the room.”
Chip Darby, who is with radio station Freedom 1300, agreed with Bellows. He described some of the outbursts as “obscene.”
As WND previously reported, the substitute was suspended by LISD earlier in the week. The teacher’s “gender identity” became an issue when students began talking about it with parents, according to KFDM-TV in Port Arthur, Texas.
Parents and educators took to Facebook protesting Klug’s presence in a classroom with “impressionable” minors.
One community member identified as Barbara McIntosh Mcewin said on social media, Klug’s class “spent more time staring at him” than taking their test “so he was pulled out for hall duty.”
Roger Beard, whose son was in Klug’s class, spoke to KFDM-TV.
“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,” Beard said.
A woman who didn’t want her name used, who also had a child in Klug’s class, posted a statement on Facebook.
“I did have to explain to my daughter what transgender was last Thursday afternoon because it was her home room class he was in,” she said. “I was none to[sic] happy to venture down that road with my 11 year old. Judge? No. But do I have reservations about WHY this person wants to be in our schools for $60 a day, you better believe it.”
In an interview with KFDM, Klug stated: “I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school.”
Defending that lesson, Valastro said at the time: “I can honestly say, to my knowledge, Lumberton ISD has never converted a single student to Islam.”
It apparently was part of a controversial curriculum called CSCOPE, which had been removed from classrooms until it was reintroduced under the name “TEKS Resource System.”
CSCOPE had come under fire for controversial curriculum content, including accusations of multiple lessons showing a pro-Islamic agenda. CSCOPE representatives had claimed that such content had been “taken out of context” or that they were “old lessons that have since been taken down.”
In Lumberton, in a CSCOPE lesson on Islam, one student quoted the teacher as saying, “We are going to work to change your perception of Islam.”
After WND’s initial report, which resulted in inquiries by Fox News Channel and prompted national attention, school administrators moved to require the minor students involved in the burqa exercise to sign waivers about the class activities.
Valastro was also challenged when he banned a Bible study course at Lumberton High School.
The school administration never created a class on how the Bible has influenced history, the world and literature, despite a state law that required school districts to have such a class if a certain number of students requested it.