FACT CHECK: Was An Irish Teacher Jailed For Not Using A Student’s Preferred Pronouns?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims an Irish teacher named Enoch Burke was imprisoned for refusing to refer to a transgender student by their preferred pronouns. 

Verdict: Misleading

While it was true that Burke was placed on administrative leave for not using the student’s preferred pronouns, he was jailed for contempt of court after violating his leave.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post claims Burke was jailed for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns. A similar post on Twitter garnering over 50 retweets claims Burke was jailed for “his Christian beliefs.”

“A Northern Ireland based teacher, Enoch Burke, has been imprisoned for refusing to use `newspeak`. He refused to change his use of English language to suit one student,” the Facebook post reads. “Showing tolerance and understanding towards trans folk is only right. It is the decent thing to do. However, being forced to change our language under threat of imprisonment to suit the whims of a tiny minority is an attack on the foundations of democracy.” (RELATED: Viral News Story About Transgender Baby Is Fabricated)

While Burke was placed on leave, he was actually jailed for contempt of court. The teacher was placed on administrative leave Aug. 22 from the Co Westmeath secondary school in Ireland after he refused to refer to a male student with “they” pronouns, citing his Christian beliefs, according to The Irish Times.

The teacher continued to attend the school in violation of a court-ordered restraining order and was arrested Sept. 2, according to The New York Post. he further refused to comply with the order while appearing before a judge, adding that “transgenderism is against [his] Christian belief,” the outlet reported.

This is not the first time transgenderism has been the subject of misinformation on social media. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting an article from CBC News purported Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s son recently came out as transgender.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter

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