Milton Berle, dressed in drag, performs a skit with Bob Hope during taping of “Bob Hope Buys NBC?” special at NBC studios in Burbank, Ca., Sunday night, Sept. 9, 1985. This is Berle’s first network performance since his quadruple bypass heart surgery last June 10. (AP Photo/Robert Gabriel)

 

A former Indiana orchestra teacher claims he was forced to resign due to his employer’s transgender policy.

John Kluge, until recently a teacher at Brownsburg High School, says he recently refused to follow a rule requiring instructors to call students by their preferred names and address them by the pronouns of their choice.

The guidelines regarding transgender students were given to teachers at the beginning of this year, in the form of an 11-page outline.

Kluge, who has worked at Brownsburg for four years, believes the mandate violates his religious convictions and his First Amendment rights:

“I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that’s a dangerous lifestyle. 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.”

While Kluge contends he was forced to leave, a school spokeswoman tells HuffPost he quit of his own volition.

“This teacher voluntarily submitted his resignation prior to the end of the school year. The resignation was accepted by the administration.”

Furthermore, she asserts, the school “complies with all state and federal laws.”

In addition to requiring teachers to address transgender students according to their preference, the school also allows trans kids to “use the restroom of their choice.”

Not good.

Initially, the 28-year-old educator reported to the Indianapolis Star that he and administrators had agreed to a compromise wherein he would call students by their last names. However, a few months ago, he was told that would no longer be possible.

Kluge explains he was forced out at a “very threatening and bullying type of meeting” with higher-ups.

While the Indiana Family Institute has supported him, Twitter has provided a battleground for both sides.

Kluge intends to appeal to keep his job at a schoold board meeting on June 11th.

Surely, cases such as these are going to increase. And eventually, one will reach the Supreme Court. Will the justices side with religious freedom, as in the case of the Colorado baker Monday? Will they vote against science and free speech, bolstering a public school’s ability to force people into compliance? What about the use of opposite sex bathrooms, which violate girls’ privacy by allowing guys to come into their restrooms and locker rooms?

To be clear, this article — and the photo representing it — is not meant to denigrate those who are suffering from identity issues. The photo is intended to indicate societal change, and my focus here is John Kluge’s rights, as well as the rights of other students at the school.

Whatever the fate of Kluge’s case in particular, and the issue in general, we have truly jumped the shark in society when a man or woman is punished for not telling a boy he is a girl, or vice versa. And when a school is the entity demanding it.

How do you think this case is going to turn out? What about the broader issue? Please let me know in the Comments section below.

For a totally different story related to trans issues, check out my article on Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

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