Indiana high school teacher claims he was forced to resign because of transgender policy

- A central Indiana high school teacher is trying to get his job back after he claims the school district forced him to resign for violating its transgender student policy.

John Kluge, a former Brownsburg High School orchestra teacher, said he submitted a tentative resignation letter because he was threatened with job termination for not falling in line with the school district’s new policy on how teachers should address students who identify as transgender.

He told the Indianapolis Star that he did not want to violate his conscience by calling transgender students by their preferred name, rather than those given at birth.

“I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that’s a dangerous lifestyle,” the 28-year-old teacher told the newspaper. “I’m fine to teach students with other beliefs, but the fact that teachers are being compelled to speak a certain way is the scary thing.”

Kluge, who has taught at the school for four years, said the school’s new policy violates his First Amendment rights.

The new school policy, which will be implemented next school year, states that students must have written consent from a parent and doctor to request the name change. The school’s policy allowed for teachers to call students by their last names this year, but starting next year, teachers will be required to call students by the preferred name and pronouns listed in the school’s system.

“When you work in a public school, you sign up to follow the law and the policies/practices of that organization and that might mean following practices that are different than your beliefs,” the policy said.

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