San Antonio Employment Law Blog

Texas substitute teacher suspended due to gender issues

A 52-year-old woman has recently been reinstated as a substitute teacher after a Texas school district stopped giving her assignments because she is transgender. The woman had been substitute teaching as a way of paying her bills since losing her job as an airplane pilot in 2011. She has resided in Lumberton since 1998.

When it first became clear that she had been suspended because of her gender identity, she took to a popular blog that posts content related to women’s issues. In the blog post, the woman stated that she was on retainer for the Lumberton district but was not getting any assignments. She went on to write that she had met with various school principals in person, attempting to prove to them that she was “not a freak.” The principals were apparently polite and receptive.

The path to the woman’s reinstatement continued when a Facebook group entitled “Let Her Teach” was created. The group eventually amassed 900 members. Then, the Lumberton school board conducted a 30-minute meeting in which the opinions of local parents and taxpayers were heard regarding the teacher’s suspension. The majority of the speakers supported the woman’s reinstatement. After the meeting, the Lumberton superintendent spoke with a human resources representative to ensure that the woman would be added back to the substitute teacher list.

It is not known whether or not the woman was or is currently considering legal action. While it’s generally known that a lawsuit can be sought for things such as sexual harassment, many people might not yet realize that gender identity issues can unfortunately end up causing discrimination in the workplace. Individuals who identify as transgender often still face an uphill battle for acceptance; luckily, the legal system is on their side if the discrimination affects their job.

Source: Beaumont Enterprise, “Transgender sub says she isn’t getting calls to teach” Cassie Smith, Apr. 16, 2014

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