The Daily Telegraph
Jailed teacher challenges ban after refusing to use trans pronouns
A TEACHER who was suspended for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun is back up in an Irish court today to challenge an injunction banning him from his school.
Enoch Burke, an evangelical Christian, has already been jailed for contempt of court for refusing to comply with the order not to go or try to teach at the Church of Ireland school.
“I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl,” he told the judge on Monday.
He was put on paid suspension by Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath for refusing to call the pupil “they”.
Despite that, Mr Burke turned up at the school.
He would sit in an empty classroom and declare he was there to work.
The school said it took out the temporary injunction to prevent disruption at the start of the new term.
In June, Mr Burke publicly confronted the principal over the policy at a church service and dinner to mark the school’s 260th anniversary.
Lawyers for the school said it was forced with “a heavy heart” to take action leading to Mr Burke’s jailing after he broke the court order it secured last week.
Mr Burke, who represented himself, was jailed after telling the court he could not comply with the order after being arrested at the school on Monday.
The judge told the history and German teacher he must stay in prison until he agrees to comply with the terms of the injunction.
Judge Michael Quinn said he was only ruling on whether there had been a wilful breach of the court order, rather than on Mr Burke’s beliefs.
The teacher spent his first night in jail away from the general prison population, in accordance with Irish Covid prevention rules.
Mr Burke told the court: “Transgenderism is against my Christian belief. It is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school ... it is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs.”
He said it was “extraordinary and reprehensible” that his religious beliefs could lead to his suspension by the school.
The school has said it is abiding by Ireland’s 2000 Equal Status Act by not discriminating against any student and was focused on the welfare of its pupils.