A Virginia school has caused controversy amongst parents after allowing a teacher to return to work after a sex change.

Lily Mcbeth is a substitute teacher at Eagleswood Elementary School, she had a sex change last year to become a woman and re applied for her job under her new name.

The school board allowed the 71 year old to work earlier this week amongst anger from parents to ban her from the school she had taught at as a man for five years.

Several parents said their young children wouldn’t understand the change of gender and would be confused. One parent, Steve Bond said: “I, as a parent, am appalled to have this issue brought into my child’s psychology,”

Another parent took out a newspaper advert urging parents to attend a meeting against her re admission. Mark Schnepp said: “I will not allow you to put my kids in a petri dish and hope it all turns out fine,”

However, many parents spoke out in support of her, including three transgender people, two former students and a handful of others, saying that the fact that she is a good teacher was more important than whether she appears as a man or a woman in class.

“There’s really nothing to fear because a person is transgender,” said Karina Mari, a mother of three school-age children who said she has transgender relatives.

Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay rights group said the school’s action was historic.