Irish teacher Enoch Burke has been jailed for contempt of court. The man refused to call the transgender student a girl, prompting Wilson’s Hospital School, where he teaches, to suspend him and a court ruling that Burke should be temporarily banned from school. But he did not obey the ban. The Independent server informs about it.
Burke, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, was suspended with full pay on Aug. 24 pending a disciplinary hearing after he clashed with the school’s principal and board. She called for teachers to call a transgender student by a new name and use the pronoun “they” instead of “he”.
The school banned Burke from entering as part of the suspension. Nevertheless, he continued to show up for work. The school appealed to the court, which banned Burke from visiting the school premises until September 7. Despite this order, he continued to attend school every morning. That led to another application by the board and Judge Miriam O’Regan on Friday ordered Mr Burke to be arrested and brought before the court.
The judge eventually had him locked up in Mountjoy Prison in central Dublin for contempt of court. “I love my school. I’m here today because I’m not going to call a boy a girl,” Burke said in court.
“It’s not something I would do. It goes against my conscience,” he claimed. According to him, obeying the court order goes against his religious beliefs. But the court forbade him to attend school, not to call a transgender person in any way. His defense did not hold up.
When asked by the court, Burke confirmed that he would continue to attend school if he was not arrested. “I’m a teacher and I don’t want to be in prison. I want to be in my class today,” he said. However, the court finally put him behind bars until he “stops being in contempt of the court or until the next decision of the court”.
The teacher said transgenderism was against his religious beliefs and contrary to the teachings of all the mainline churches in Ireland. According to the school, however, he discriminated against the student on the basis of gender, which grossly violated the school rules.
“If I were to obey the board’s order and the court’s order, I would have to accept that holding on to my belief in male and female is wrong,” he said.