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Teacher jailed for contempt of court after refusing to use student's gender-neutral pronouns

A teacher in Ireland was jailed this week for violating a court order forbidding him from going to the school where he works, after he was put on administrative leave during disciplinary proceedings over his refusal to use a student's new name and gender-neutral pronouns, Ireland's state broadcaster reported.

In May, when a student at a secondary school in County Westmeath said they wanted to transition, Enoch Burke, who teaches German, history, politics and debate, reportedly refused to use their name and pronouns, RTE said.

When Burke, along with other school staff, was asked by the school's principal to use the pronoun "they" to refer to the student, Burke said that it went against his Christian beliefs.

The school board met to discuss Burke's response, commissioned a report and arranged a disciplinary meeting. On August 22, the board decided to place Burke on temporary paid administrative leave during the disciplinary process, stressing that the decision was not a disciplinary sanction, according to RTE.

Burke, however, continued to show up to school every day for his scheduled lessons.

The school then got a court injunction barring Burke from the school building, which he violated, saying he would not comply with it because it went against his conscience.

Burke was brought in front of a judge, who stressed that the issue facing the court was whether he had violated the injunction. Burke was found to be in contempt of court for violating the court's order that he stay away from the school.

Burke has been given the opportunity to "purge his contempt," which could involve him committing to not violate the court order again. The case is due back in court on Wednesday, RTE reported.

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