Irish Teacher Arrested On Contempt Charge After Violating School’s Transgender Policy

While school districts across the United States have been embroiled in a debate over how to address and accommodate students who identify as transgender, the issue has also been a source of controversy in other nations.

Most recently, an Irish teacher was arrested on charges of contempt of court in a case that stemmed from his refusal to refer to a biologically male student as a girl.

According to local reports, Enoch Burke had been suspended from his position as an educator at Wilson’s Hospital School in Westmeath after expressing an unwillingness to use the student’s preferred pronouns. A subsequent court order prohibited him from setting foot on the campus grounds.

Even after his arrest for contempt, he cited his Christian faith and declared it “insanity” that he would be locked up for acting in accordance with his religious values.

While in court, he referenced the school’s motto, which is Latin for “actions not words,” and highlighted the irony that he was in court because he refused to “call a boy a girl.”

A judge set the stage for his arrest last week when he was spotted in a classroom on campus despite a previous injunction.

After his arrest on Monday, he told the court: “I am a teacher and I don’t want to go to prison. I want to be in my classroom today. That’s where I was this morning when I was arrested.”

He reiterated that any order requiring him to address transgender individuals by their preferred pronouns “is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of [his] school.”

Disputes over transgender school policies have also advanced to court in America, including a retired teacher’s lawsuit over a mandate that would require her to address students by a preferred gender while at school but not in discussions with parents.

The Geary County, Kentucky, school district agreed to settle the case for $95,000 in an agreement that Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer described as a victory for religious liberty.

“No school district should ever force teachers to willfully deceive parents or engage in any speech that violates their deeply held religious beliefs,” he said.