A Christian teacher in Ireland who refused to use a transgender student's preferred pronouns has been jailed for ignoring a court order that prohibited him from setting foot on his school's campus.
According to Newsweek, Enoch Burke was arrested Monday morning and sent to Mountjoy prison for contempt of court. Burke teaches German, history and politics at Wilson's Hospital School in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath.
''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,'' Burke, an evangelical Christian, said after the ruling.
Burke entered the school grounds despite being suspended and placed on administrative leave for publicly disputing a transgender student's preferred pronouns of ''they/them'' in June, according to Newsweek.
The school reportedly next asked Burke to respect the student's gender identity, but he said that doing so went against the teachings of the Church of Ireland and was a violation of his constitutional rights. The school is a Church of Ireland diocesan school.
In late August, Burke was placed on administrative leave while the school conducted a disciplinary review. The school told Newsweek that the teacher continued to appear on school grounds.
In court on Monday, Burke said he planned to return to school and could not comply with the order. Justice Michael Quinn ordered that he remain held until he agrees to comply with the order, which is keeping him out of the classroom.
According to Newsweek, Burke asserts that the school cannot suspend him, as the only grounds for suspension would be gross misconduct. He maintains that standing by his views on gender is not gross misconduct.
As teachers and schools have become one of the primary battlegrounds for the culture wars in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom, such situations have become commonplace.
Last December, a teacher in Massachusetts was fired for posting videos on TikTok that revealed she was opposed to critical race theory.
In Missouri, a high school teacher lost her job in April after she allegedly used critical race theory in class by assigning the young adult novel ''Dear Martin,'' about a Black high school student who encounters police violence while attending a mostly white high school.
A Washington Post analysis from June found that more than 160 teachers in the U.S. had been caught in the crosshairs of the culture wars and lost their jobs due to the heated political debate surrounding the issues.
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