Indiana teacher claims he was forced to resign over school’s transgender policy

INDIANA (CNN) – An Indiana high school teacher is working to get his job back after being forced to resign for violating its transgender student policy.

John Kluge, a former Brownsburg High School orchestra teacher, said he was forced to submit a resignation letter because he was threatened with job termination for not following the school district’s policy on how teachers should address students who identify as transgender.

He told the Indianapolis Star that he does not want to go against his conscience by calling transgender students by their preferred name, rather their birth name.

“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 has taught at the school for four years, and believes the new policy violates his First Amendment rights.

The new school policy will be implemented next school year. It 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 names this year, but next year, teachers will be required to call students by their preferred name and pronouns listed in the school’s system.

A Brownsburg Community School Corporation representative alleged Kluge voluntarily submitted his resignation before the end of the school year, but Kluge says he submitted a tentative resignation letter because he was threatened with job termination, adding he requested to withdraw the letter.

Kluge says he still wants to work at the school and is “pleading” to come back. He’s planning to make an appeal to the school board next week.

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