Teacher resigns, challenges district's transgender name policy

A former orchestra teacher at Brownsburg High School says he was forced to resign because he refused to follow a poli...

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 2:40 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2018 2:40 PM

A former orchestra teacher at Brownsburg High School says he was forced to resign because he refused to follow a policy that requires teachers to call transgender students by their preferred name instead of their birth name.

John Kluge was an orchestra teacher at Brownsburg High School for four years.

He says the school administration sent an email at the beginning of the year instructing teachers to refer to transgender students by their new, preferred names - as reflected in the school's database.

But Kluge didn't agree with the instruction and wanted to call those students by their last name instead.

He says the school gave him three options: follow policy, resign or be fired.

"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," said Kluge.

Kluge says he submitted a conditional resignation letter with a tentative date because he felt threatened, but he withdrew that resignation before the May 29 deadline.

"It was my understanding that I would be suspended pending termination May 1," said Kluge. "It was a very threatening and bullying type of meeting that I had with them."

Dr. Jim Bohrer, a local pastor and parent of a Brownsburg student said Kluge's position was "targeted."

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "I'm very saddened. At what point do we go from education, where kids are exposed to different thoughts and different ideas and have to deal with them? Life is tough. It is difficult."

Chris Paulsen, Executive Director of the LGBTQ organization Indiana Youth Group says they disagree.

"Showing a lack of respect for transgender youth is what drives up the suicide rates of transgender youth in Indiana," said Paulsen. "Indiana leads the nation in youth that consider suicide and things like that contribute to that."

According to the Brownsburg Community School Corporation, a student can only get their name changed in PowerSchool with a letter from their parent(s) and a health care professional.

Kluge released the following statement:

"I enjoy being the orchestra teacher at Brownsburg. I love serving the kids in the community and would like to continue teaching at Brownsburg. It's unfortunate that the administration is not letting me come back and that they are unwilling to continue a reasonable accommodation that most people consider to be very common-sense. Again I appreciate teaching at Brownsburg High School and hope the board will reconsider terminating me."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 137536

Reported Deaths: 2421
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34657994
Ramsey14342362
Dakota10027138
Anoka9039151
Washington608972
Stearns599144
Scott349634
Olmsted331430
St. Louis307970
Wright260915
Clay236243
Nobles230916
Blue Earth20667
Carver18477
Kandiyohi17535
Sherburne173322
Rice167410
Mower153517
Winona127819
Chisago10832
Crow Wing106222
Lyon9966
Benton9769
Waseca9379
Beltrami9147
Otter Tail9017
Todd8656
Steele7823
Morrison77610
Itasca76317
Nicollet74718
Douglas7283
Polk7244
Freeborn6914
Le Sueur6456
Goodhue62511
Martin61518
McLeod6104
Becker5884
Watonwan5794
Isanti5715
Pine5540
Chippewa4663
Carlton4622
Mille Lacs42715
Hubbard4103
Dodge4040
Wabasha3970
Cass3905
Pipestone35917
Rock3484
Meeker3453
Brown3333
Yellow Medicine2926
Roseau2900
Murray2893
Cottonwood2860
Redwood28411
Fillmore2640
Sibley2603
Renville25812
Wadena2553
Faribault2390
Kanabec22510
Jackson2171
Houston2121
Swift2091
Pennington2071
Unassigned19353
Lincoln1890
Stevens1871
Aitkin1862
Koochiching1725
Pope1650
Lac qui Parle1443
Big Stone1431
Wilkin1404
Marshall1311
Lake1260
Norman1210
Mahnomen1172
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake812
Traverse580
Kittson490
Lake of the Woods441
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117876

Reported Deaths: 1666
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19173289
Woodbury728597
Johnson590630
Black Hawk5727101
Linn5692132
Dubuque529558
Scott466241
Story403918
Dallas348544
Pottawattamie326744
Sioux247017
Buena Vista226812
Marshall204436
Webster189115
Plymouth167831
Wapello154162
Clinton150227
Muscatine148758
Des Moines140910
Cerro Gordo140227
Crawford136314
Warren12737
Carroll116813
Jasper112334
Henry10745
Marion103211
Lee95910
Tama95837
Delaware80213
Dickinson7529
Wright7341
Boone7269
Mahaska70924
Bremer6879
Harrison67315
Washington66711
Jackson6463
Benton5982
Lyon5568
Clay5414
Louisa52515
Winnebago50219
Hardin4837
Winneshiek4839
Hamilton4784
Cedar4777
Kossuth4770
Buchanan4625
Poweshiek46211
Jones4544
Clayton4503
Floyd44011
Emmet43520
Iowa4189
Page4130
Guthrie40715
Cherokee4062
Mills4053
Sac4034
Cass4023
Butler3883
Fayette3844
Franklin38218
Shelby3812
Allamakee3809
Chickasaw3641
Madison3643
Clarke3573
Humboldt3383
Hancock3314
Grundy3186
Palo Alto3162
Calhoun3124
Osceola2890
Mitchell2831
Howard2749
Monroe26211
Union2524
Taylor2482
Jefferson2451
Monona2452
Appanoose2333
Pocahontas2322
Fremont2091
Lucas2066
Ida1962
Greene1880
Van Buren1812
Montgomery1807
Davis1794
Adair1771
Keokuk1641
Decatur1530
Audubon1511
Worth1460
Wayne1323
Ringgold922
Adams830
Unassigned150
Rochester
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
Albert Lea
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 31°
Austin
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Charles City
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 26°
Tracking plenty of sunshine through the week!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events