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Bobref

New Transgender vs. Religious Freedom Case from Brownsburg, IN

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Another interesting intersection of the "new normal" and so-called religious freedom. Predictions on how this will turn out?

https://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/50624-lawsuit-schools-transgender-policy-violated-teachers-religious-beliefs

A Brownsburg music teacher who claims he lost his job because he refused to address transgender students by the first names of their choice has filed a federal lawsuit against the Brownsburg Community School Corporation for violating his First Amendment religious freedom and free speech rights.

John Kluge was hired as a music and orchestra teacher by the school corporation in August 2014. He says he met all the school’s performance expectations and received positive evaluations but was wrongly terminated in May 2018 after he refused to go against his sincerely held religious beliefs and abide by the school’s transgender policy.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on Kluge’s behalf by the Indiana Family Institute, claims the school corporation violated Kluge’s free exercise of religion and freedom of speech under the First Amendment as well as his right to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

In addition, the lawsuit asserts Kluge’s right to free exercise of religion under the Indiana Constitution was also violated.

“Defendants’ transgender policies and related practices do not serve any government interests of sufficient magnitude to override Kluge’s right to live according to the dictates of his faith and according to his own conscience,” the complaint states.  

Kluge is seeking an injunction prohibiting Brownsburg schools from enforcing the policies and practices that violate employees’ religious beliefs. He is also asking for back pay and the value of benefits along with compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the 25-page complaint, BCSC changed its policy in early 2017, allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice while teachers were instructed to use the transgender students’ preferred names.

Kluge describes himself as a “professing evangelical Christian” who strives to live daily by his faith. He believes God created mankind as either male or female and that gender is fixed from the moment of conception and cannot be changed regardless of an individual’s feelings or desires.

The complaint states BCSC superintendent James Snapp told Kluge to use the transgender names or lose his job. Kluge was then accused of misconduct and suspended.

In July of 2017, Kluge reached an agreement with Snapp where his religious beliefs would be accommodated by allowing him to address all the students by their last names only. However, at the end of 2017, the school principal, Bret Daghe, told Kluge he should resign because the accommodation was creating tension. In February 2018, the religious accommodation was withdrawn, the lawsuit says, because the school claimed the students were offended at the use of last names.

Kluge explained to the school that he believes “encouraging students to present themselves as the opposite sex by calling them an opposite-sex first name is sinful.” In the complaint, he asserts the school corporation could not identify any undue hardship caused by the accommodation but “simply desired to promote and accommodate transgender beliefs over sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

After submitting his resignation at the end of April 2018, Kluge tried to rescind it but the school ignored the rescission and accepted the resignation. Immediately, Kluge was locked out of the school buildings and the school’s intranet, and his job was posted as vacant.

“The Defendants’ removal of the successful ‘last-names only’ accommodation based on the complaints of students — who suspected he was using last names to avoid transgender names, and wanted Kluge to capitulate — does not amount to undue hardship, but is an impermissible ‘heckler’s veto,’” the complaint states.

 The lawsuit, John M. Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corporation, et al., 1:19-cv-2462, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Indianapolis attorneys Michael Cork, Roscoe Stovall, Jr., and Kevin Green are representing Kluge. Brownsburg schools have not yet replied to the suit.

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58 minutes ago, Bobref said:

Another interesting intersection of the "new normal" and so-called religious freedom. Predictions on how this will turn out?

https://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/50624-lawsuit-schools-transgender-policy-violated-teachers-religious-beliefs

A Brownsburg music teacher who claims he lost his job because he refused to address transgender students by the first names of their choice has filed a federal lawsuit against the Brownsburg Community School Corporation for violating his First Amendment religious freedom and free speech rights.

John Kluge was hired as a music and orchestra teacher by the school corporation in August 2014. He says he met all the school’s performance expectations and received positive evaluations but was wrongly terminated in May 2018 after he refused to go against his sincerely held religious beliefs and abide by the school’s transgender policy.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on Kluge’s behalf by the Indiana Family Institute, claims the school corporation violated Kluge’s free exercise of religion and freedom of speech under the First Amendment as well as his right to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

In addition, the lawsuit asserts Kluge’s right to free exercise of religion under the Indiana Constitution was also violated.

“Defendants’ transgender policies and related practices do not serve any government interests of sufficient magnitude to override Kluge’s right to live according to the dictates of his faith and according to his own conscience,” the complaint states.  

Kluge is seeking an injunction prohibiting Brownsburg schools from enforcing the policies and practices that violate employees’ religious beliefs. He is also asking for back pay and the value of benefits along with compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the 25-page complaint, BCSC changed its policy in early 2017, allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice while teachers were instructed to use the transgender students’ preferred names.

Kluge describes himself as a “professing evangelical Christian” who strives to live daily by his faith. He believes God created mankind as either male or female and that gender is fixed from the moment of conception and cannot be changed regardless of an individual’s feelings or desires.

The complaint states BCSC superintendent James Snapp told Kluge to use the transgender names or lose his job. Kluge was then accused of misconduct and suspended.

In July of 2017, Kluge reached an agreement with Snapp where his religious beliefs would be accommodated by allowing him to address all the students by their last names only. However, at the end of 2017, the school principal, Bret Daghe, told Kluge he should resign because the accommodation was creating tension. In February 2018, the religious accommodation was withdrawn, the lawsuit says, because the school claimed the students were offended at the use of last names.

Kluge explained to the school that he believes “encouraging students to present themselves as the opposite sex by calling them an opposite-sex first name is sinful.” In the complaint, he asserts the school corporation could not identify any undue hardship caused by the accommodation but “simply desired to promote and accommodate transgender beliefs over sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

After submitting his resignation at the end of April 2018, Kluge tried to rescind it but the school ignored the rescission and accepted the resignation. Immediately, Kluge was locked out of the school buildings and the school’s intranet, and his job was posted as vacant.

“The Defendants’ removal of the successful ‘last-names only’ accommodation based on the complaints of students — who suspected he was using last names to avoid transgender names, and wanted Kluge to capitulate — does not amount to undue hardship, but is an impermissible ‘heckler’s veto,’” the complaint states.

 The lawsuit, John M. Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corporation, et al., 1:19-cv-2462, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Indianapolis attorneys Michael Cork, Roscoe Stovall, Jr., and Kevin Green are representing Kluge. Brownsburg schools have not yet replied to the suit.

Lol he’d gotten fired where I work, and probably shot by a P.O.’ed parent or kid.

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1 hour ago, DanteEstonia said:

Lol he’d gotten fired where I work, and probably shot by a P.O.’ed parent or kid.

For what?  Calling all kids by their last name so as not to embarrass any identity challenged kids?  

Image result for the dude trans slender

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16 minutes ago, swordfish said:

For what?  Calling all kids by their last name so as not to embarrass any identity challenged kids?  

Image result for the dude trans slender

If the board says “call the student by the chosen first name”, then the teacher shall obey.

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24 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Anything less than obedience is insubordination.

Yes, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

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36 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Anything less than obedience is insubordination.

It's your serf like actions. 

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1 hour ago, swordfish said:

For what?  Calling all kids by their last name so as not to embarrass any identity challenged kids?  

Image result for the dude trans slender

No, it’s about respecting all students in the room, and putting them before personal beliefs and opinions. The teacher is wrong here in his actions. As others would say, don’t like the rules? Move on. This is no different than a teacher talking politics and picking a side in front of students. Allowing students to make their own decisions is more important than what a given teacher believes is right or wrong. I have a handful of students each semester that go by something other than the name I see on my roster. If I truly want all my students to succeed, they need to know I have their best interests at heart. If I choose the name to call them by, especially against their wishes, then that relationship is fractured. There is no skin off my back as a teacher to call a kid by a name he or she chooses to be called. 

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Just now, Irishman said:

No, it’s about respecting all students in the room, and putting them before personal beliefs and opinions. The teacher is wrong here in his actions. As others would say, don’t like the rules? Move on. This is no different than a teacher talking politics and picking a side in front of students. Allowing students to make their own decisions is more important than what a given teacher believes is right or wrong. I have a handful of students each semester that go by something other than the name I see on my roster. If I truly want all my students to succeed, they need to know I have their best interests at heart. If I choose the name to call them by, especially against their wishes, then that relationship is fractured. There is no skin off my back as a teacher to call a kid by a name he or she chooses to be called. 

What does the Indiana Code list as grounds for non-renewal? Insubordination is a cause in Nevada.

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Insubordination is grounds for termination here as well. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Irishman said:

I have a handful of students each semester that go by something other than the name I see on my roster. If I truly want all my students to succeed, they need to know I have their best interests at heart. If I choose the name to call them by, especially against their wishes, then that relationship is fractured. There is no skin off my back as a teacher to call a kid by a name he or she chooses to be called. 

Are we just talking "Mike" instead of "Michael" here or some more extreme? What if the student's chosen name is "Stupid McDumbF*ck" or "Hitler's Little Buddy"?

 

Edited by Muda69
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38 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Are we just talking "Mike" instead of "Michael" here or some more extreme? What if the student's chosen name is "Stupid McDumbF*ck" or "Hitler's Little Buddy"?

 

Keep in mind that the policy the teacher violated was the school’s transgender policy. Although your hypotheticals are challenging constitutional law questions in themselves, they’re not the question in issue here.

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16 hours ago, Bobref said:

Keep in mind that the policy the teacher violated was the school’s transgender policy. Although your hypotheticals are challenging constitutional law questions in themselves, they’re not the question in issue here.

I know that.  Just trying to see the limits of this apparent policy of "I'll call the child whatever name they want to be called by."

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21 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

It's your serf like actions. 

What are you trying to get at here?

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1 hour ago, DanteEstonia said:

What are you trying to get at here?

52 seconds in.  That is your mentality.

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7 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

52 seconds in.  That is your mentality.

If the music teacher doesn’t like Brownsburg’s policies, he can teach somewhere else.

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2 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

If the music teacher doesn’t like Brownsburg’s policies, he can teach somewhere else.

That really says nothing about whether the school’s policy is unconstitutional as applied, which is the issue here. 

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6 hours ago, Bobref said:

That really says nothing about whether the school’s policy is unconstitutional as applied, which is the issue here. 

Bob as I see our nation become more and more woke, I also see a boom for your industry. How long before we see “hurt feelings” become a specialty field of practice to go along with corporate, tax, family, criminal, etc.?

 

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7 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Bob as I see our nation become more and more woke, I also see a boom for your industry. How long before we see “hurt feelings” become a specialty field of practice to go along with corporate, tax, family, criminal, etc.?

 

If it happens, it’ll be long after I’m done practicing (which won’t be too much longer), thank goodness.

Seriously, there is already a civil tort known as “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” However, it’s use is (currently) limited to a fairly narrow set of circumstances that goes well beyond simply “hurt feelings.” But, once the snowflakes succeed to the positions of power as they age, who can say where the law will go?

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20 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

If the music teacher doesn’t like Brownsburg’s policies, he can teach somewhere else.

absolutely....just like staff at private Catholic schools here in Indy.....

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On 7/5/2019 at 8:05 AM, TrojanDad said:

absolutely....just like staff at private Catholic schools here in Indy.....

Big difference between an employer breaking the law and a teacher being uppity.

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2 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

Big difference between an employer breaking the law and a teacher being uppity.

no employer broke the law....if that were the case, it would be open and shut.  And it's hardly that......

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Am I missing something?  Doesn’t the teacher have a class roster w names set forth by the school via registration?  Why wouldn’t the teacher just call them by the name on the provided list?  

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1 hour ago, DannEllenwood said:

Am I missing something?  Doesn’t the teacher have a class roster w names set forth by the school via registration?  Why wouldn’t the teacher just call them by the name on the provided list?  

If it’s anything like where I work, it shows on the roster if a student is transgender; it has the new name in parentheses.

1 hour ago, TrojanDad said:

no employer broke the law....if that were the case, it would be open and shut.  And it's hardly that......

Roncali fired a teacher in a manner inconsistent with Indiana law.

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