EXCLUSIVE: School district reassigns transgender substitute, bars her from classroom

Laura Jane Klug

Laura Jane Klug

A transgender substitute teacher who was suspended earlier this month has returned to work.

However, Lumberton ISD officials have assigned Laura Jane Klug to a position outside the classroom, in an apparent effort to avoid backlash from parents whose complaints led to her suspension in early April.

Following a contentious school board meeting on April 10, Klug said Superintendent John Valastro told her she’d been reinstated as  a substitute teacher in the Southeast Texas district. However, last week Klug complained that she hadn’t received any teaching assignments — and Valastro told a local TV station he hadn’t made a decision about her future.

Klug said she met with Valastro on Monday and agreed to accept a temporary, full-time position outside the classroom through the end of the school year.

“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 said. “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 them [the parents] somewhat.”


Klug said Valastro told her he’s still consulting with the school board and the district’s attorneys about the matter.

Klug, a pilot by trade, said while she’d like to return to the classroom — she’d also like to get back to flying.

“I’m afraid that all this attention that I’ve gotten throughout the entire situation might have ruined my chances of every finding pilot employment,” she said.

Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said even though the district is allowing Klug to work, reassigning her could constitute a prohibited adverse employment action.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex, which includes transgender people.

Valastro didn’t return calls seeking comment.