Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Tale of Two Teachers ... And Parents Who Teach Hate

I’ve said on this blog before that I am the son of a ‘teacher man’ and I have always had great respect for educators of all kinds. Teachers show us how to read and write, and add and subtract; they show us how to think; they give us our history.

Parents, on the other hand, or at least the parents in these two tales, only seem able to teach hate and intolerance and bigotry and homophobia and transphobia.

Laura Jane Klug worked as a fifth grade substitute teacher at Lumberton Intermediate School in Texas, until she was asked not to return to school following the complaints of several parents.

Was she disrespectful to the children? Was she not following the curriculum?

No, it’s because Laura Jane Klug was born Kurt Klug, and the fact that she is transgender means she cannot possibly be any kind of teacher to the children.

Klug says she met with a representative of Lumberton Independent School District's Human Resources and District Superintendent John Valastro who suspended her pending a decision by the school board on whether to continue using her as a substitute teacher.

Because she’s transgender.

Roger Beard, whose son was in the class Klug was subbing, said what concerns him is the distraction he believes a transgender teacher poses to ten and eleven year old children:
"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."
First question, Rog? What kind of distraction is she actually? Do the kids in her class know she’s transgender? And if they do, so what? It isn’t about the children being uncomfortable, or distracted, it’s about parents like Roger Beard not wanting to have the transgender conversation with their children.

It’s about telling your kids that transgender teachers cannot and should not teach children because, somehow, they are less than, and incapable of doing the job correctly.

And it’s funny this comes up now, because Laura Jane has substituted at the school without any issues before and she's unsure what instigated the outrage:
"I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school."
She didn’t discuss her gender identity at school because she wasn’t teaching a class in gender identity. She probably taught more radical things like readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic and stuff.

And now she’s somewhat of a pariah and a whole group of kids are thinking there’s something wrong with being transgender. Klug said the Lumberton school board will privately make the decision whether to fire her …

You have to be taught to hate in Lumberton Texas.

In Birmingham, England, Andrew Moffat, a gay assistant head teacher has reportedly resigned after parents complained that they did not want their children to “learn that it’s OK to be gay”.

Not that that’s what Moffat was teaching, but just the fact that he is gay makes him a target.

Ironically enough, Moffat is the author of Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools, until he was targeted by a group of mainly Muslim parents in the dispute at Chilwell Croft Academy. Moffat, who resigned last December, and will leave permanently this month, also said some Christian parents complained as well.

His books have been used in literacy lessons for 10- and 11-year-olds, both at Chilwell Croft and other schools, but in a statement, the school said:
“A minority group of parents… objected to some of the resource books being used in literacy lessons with some of the oldest children in the school, which explored relationships with different families. The … objections were primarily voiced by those whose own religion took an opposing stance to homosexuality.”
Too bad, I say; if you want your child to be taught in the manner of your own personal faith — which, as we all know is a choice — please enroll your child in the appropriate religious school.

Moffat, who will soon be teaching at another school in Birmingham, says he has met with all kinds of challenges regarding his sexual orientation and the religious beliefs of parents:
“Some Christian and some Muslim parents have told me they don’t want their children learning that it’s OK to be gay. I did come out at school in an assembly after a group of 11-year-olds held up a poster they made, with the heading 'Gay is good'. It seemed like the right time to let the children know that they knew a gay person. Following my coming out, some parents from different communities complained to the school, but I maintain that my decision was the right one at that time.”
Funny, that the children are the ones who have no problem with a gay teacher.

I can only hope that these children will see what their parents are doing and this cycle of religious-based hate and homophobia will end one day.
Transgender Substitute Upsets Parents


Helen Lashbrook said...

What is it with these religious types that they are so fond of hating anyone who is not like them?

the dogs' mother said...

My favorite teacher of all time was gay. Our parents knew it and were fine with it. He took us to movies based on literature we were learning. We had a party in his backyard (with ducks!). Nobody in our group turned any which way. This was the mid-70s.

anne marie in philly said...

parents suck; the kids don't care.

besides, who appointed the parents judge and jury?

Biki Honko said...

What is this sudden rise with fuckwits and the term transvestites? I havent encountered that particular word in quite a long while, and then two posts with homophobes and haters used that word to describe the T. The storm clouds they are massing in the hinterlands. Could LGBTQ safety be in jeopardy to a new fresh wave of homophobic violence?