By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 28 2014 11:50 AM ET
A substitute teacher in Lumberton, Texas has returned to work after parents complained because she is transgender, but her new position with the school district keeps her out of the classroom.
Earlier this month, Laura Jane Klug was suspended after a parent complained that her gender identity and expression was a classroom distraction. Days later, fearing a lawsuit, the Lumberton Independent School District officially reinstated the teacher following a school board meeting, though her reinstatement seems to have come with a catch: she's no longer allowed in the classroom.
Last week, Klug accepted a full-time position with the district through the end of the school year, but as a condition of employment, she promised not to detail what her new position involves. She was able to confirm to Lone Star Q, however, that she is not working as a teacher. Klug had been serving as a substitute in Lumberton while she sought employment in her field of expertise as a pilot.
"I was asked not to say where I was working because we don't want the media and we don't want angry parents down there, because it's near one of the schools," Klug told Lone Star Q. "I said I'm willing to do whatever because I really need a paycheck. It doesn't make me very happy, but I think it should placate [the parents] somewhat."
Klug worries that not only has the media attention surrounding her case effectively outed her to the public, but will actually have a negative impact on her pursuit of full-time work as a pilot.
"I'm afraid that all this attention that I've gotten throughout the entire situation might have ruined my chances of ever finding pilot employment," she told Lone Star Q.
Lambda Legal senior staff attorney Ken Upton told Lone Star Q that the district's current course of action — continuing Klug's employment but removing her from the classroom — may still violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, leaving open the possibility of a lawsuit from Klug.