Only one day after the devastating Masterpiece Cakeshop verdict was announced by SCOTUS, another religion-based dispute has emerged in the public eye.
In Brownsburg Indiana, a teacher was forced to resign because he refuses to call transgender students by their preferred names.
John Kluge, a former high school orchestra teacher, claims that calling students by their preferred names (as opposed to their names at birth), goes against his religious beliefs. He believes the requirement violates his First Amendment rights.
At Brownsburg High School, students are allowed to be called by their preferred name as long as they have written consent from both a parent and doctor. At which point, the students’ names are changed in the district’s online record keeping system, and teachers are then required to refer to their students by their preferred names.
“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 Indy Star. “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.”
Last year, Kluge attempted to skirt around the issue by calling every student by their last name. This year, however, the the administration informed him that he would have to call students by their first (and thus preferred) names. He claims he was given no explanation why he couldn’t call students by their last names.
Kluge is now arguing that the school is acting as though he has already left his position. Nevertheless he claims he simply submitted a tentative letter of resignation. He has no plans of leaving Brownsburg Schools,and plans to appeal the school board to keep his job.