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Austrian school rejects trans girl, says she has a ‘peculiarity’

Austrian school rejects trans girl, says she has a ‘peculiarity’

A ten-year-old Austrian girl who was excited to attend her ‘dream school’ has been told she cannot keep attending because she is trans.

Hannah* was delighted to be enrolled in the Montessori school in Brunn. It was close to home and she like the relaxed learning environment.

‘We found the concept good for Hannah,’ Hannah’s mother, Andrea, told Biber.

‘In addition, we have hoped that a Montessori school would be very open to the world.’

She was enrolled into the school in January, her parents signed the school contract and payed the 500 Euro entrance fee.

In March they attended a parents information session where they mentioned Hannah was born as male.

Hannah’s official ID and civil status were updated years ago to reflect her true gender. As far as the Austrian government is concerned, Hannah is female.

‘The teacher thanked us for this openness and emphasized that this did not change, and that he was happy about a colorful group,’ Andrea said.

Over the next few weeks Andrea and her partner were asked to visit the school to further discuss Hannah’s enrolment. The school asked about Hannah’s trans identities.

‘The director told us that she had thought about Hannah and decided to terminate the contract on her part,’ Andrea said.

‘The situation was visibly unpleasant to her.’

Hannah’s enrolment was cancelled in May and on June 22 the school director said her parents had been dishonest with school. The director claimed her parents concealed Hannah’s trans identity and told Biber she did not tolerate the ‘dishonesty of the parents’.

The director said Hannah’s parents had hid her ‘peculiarity’ and insisted she should have been told because ‘it was like an allergy’.

Don’t tell, don’t ask

In Austria the law says students do not have to disclose their gender identity to schools. But the Montessori school is private and there is not much the government can do to influence its decision.

According to the Ministry of Education private schools can discriminate against students based on gender identity or religion.

But when Hannah found out about the school’s reasons for cancelling her enrolment she showed a maturity beyond her years.

‘They are funny. But I do not want to go to such a school anyway,’ she said.

*Names have been changed.