Parents rally when teacher who was forced to resign over transgender policy decides to fight back

An Indiana high school teacher is accusing school administrators of putting a “financial gun” to his head over their transgender policy.

John Kluge was ordered to comply with the school district’s policy on transgender students or give up his job as a faculty member of Brownsburg High School , according to WTHR.

The 28-year-old Christian teacher, who had taught music theory classes and conducted the school’s orchestra for four years, was required to call transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns instead of their birth names, according to the school’s policy. Kluge, who was also the faculty sponsor for an after-school Bible study group, reached a compromise with school officials when he explained the policy violated his religious beliefs.

“I really care about kids and I don’t want to do any harm to them,” he told Todd Starnes. “I was talking to my pastor about the scenario of calling a student by an opposite sex name and what harm I believe that would do to them.”

“I remember breaking down and weeping at that scenario. I cannot in good conscience do what I believe will cause harm,” he said, but noted that the school allowed him to use last names instead.

“This was a great accommodation,” he said. “It worked really well. The agreement allowed for the beliefs of all the students and teachers to be honored.”

But that compromise was short-lived as Kluge, who is married with a young daughter and another child on the way, was told he had a choice to make.

“They told me to start using the transgender students opposite sex names and if I was not willing to do that I would be terminated by May 1st,” he said. “The other option they gave me was to resign so I could get paid over the summer.”

Kluge decided to write a conditional resignation letter, as the school had promised he “would get paid if I tendered my resignation.”

“They put a financial gun to my head – get fired or resign,” he said. “It was distressing.”

But the teacher turned to the law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, after he began to have second thoughts.

“We think that there have been some serious mistakes made and they may give rise to a legal cause of action,” attorney Michael Cork told Starnes. “The resignation scenario was handled in a way that was beyond bullying.”

The school district has reportedly not been responsive to efforts by the law firm to reach a resolution. Starnes mentioned that his attempts to contact school officials were also not successful.

“When you are offered the chance to continue to earn money or to be terminated immediately and you have two mouths and a third on the way to feed – it’s a very difficult decision,” Cork said.

According to Starnes:

John Kluge is a good and decent man. He is a dedicated school teacher. He is a faithful husband and father. He is a devout follower of our Lord.

He was given a choice – either renounce your religious beliefs or lose your job. He chose to remain faithful and now he is unemployed.

How’s that for tolerance, America?


The issue has divided the community as was seen in an emotional school board meeting on Monday where it was announced that  Kluge’s resignation had been approved, FOX 59 reported. Angry parents voiced their concerns and berated the school board for a policy some said they did not even know existed.

“I’m sorry I know I sound like I’m ticked off because I am I’m fed up with this stuff from you guys. You are our elected officials. You work for us and the administration works for you so that makes you all responsible,” parent Jeff Gracie said.

Kluge maintains that the district’s policy is a violation of his rights.

“I feel the compelled speech of forcing a teacher to take a side on this very highly controversial topic is a violation of our First Amendment rights,” he told WRTV .


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