An Indiana orchestra teacher says public school administrators gave him three options at the end of this school year: refer to students as the opposite sex, resign, or be fired. He decided to resign at the end of the school year because the school would not budge, but at a local school board meeting Monday pleaded to have his job back. The board voted instead to accept his resignation.
Local public officials have so far refused to publicly discuss the policies they put into place at the beginning of 2018 that John Kluge says led to his resignation in May. Brownsburg Community School Corporation, the district that employed Kluge, put out a transgender policy document in January instructing staff to call students by their chosen names and pronouns once they are so designated on school records. Kluge opted instead to address students by their last names to avoid either referring to his apparently several transgender students with pronouns and names of the opposite sex, or offending them by not doing as they wished despite its contradiction of reality.
That wasn’t good enough. At the school board meeting, students accused Kluge of saying that transgender persons “are not an actual human being” and “actively disrespect[ing]” them for not using opposite-sex pronouns to describe them.
“Mr. Kluge’s religious beliefs have absolutely no place in a public high school. I think what he believes is morally just conflicts with what not only I believe, [but] what my parents believe, what my psychiatrist, therapist and doctor believe and the school board believe are morally just,” said student Aidyn Sucec. Kluge’s beliefs are not merely moral, but also scientific. Scientifically, there are only two sexes. “Gender” is a linguistic term for a non-physical concept.
Parents Flood Board Meeting: ‘Why Weren’t We Notified?’
The school district’s policy document says students may change their sex designation and name on school records with parental permission and “a letter from a health care professional.” It also says teachers and staff who refer to such children with the pronouns and name that correspond to their biological sex will be liable for unspecified professional consequences if the teacher did so on purpose or more than once.
“lt is the employee’s professional responsibility to follow the expectations and guidelines” of the school district, the document says several times. ” lt is our expectation that teachers use the pronoun associated with the gender as it appears in PowerSchool. lf they/them is requested, we expect that pronoun to be used as well,” the document says.”
More than 200 parents flooded the local school board meeting Monday at which Kluge was allowed the usual two minutes to plead his case. “Many of the parents at Monday night’s meeting said they were unaware that this accommodation was in place for transgender students and are uncomfortable with its implications for their children,” reported the Indianapolis Star. “Landon Chapman said he’s not comfortable with students who were born male being able to use the same female restroom as his daughter. ‘Why is it that parents weren’t notified?’ he asked the board.”
During the two-hour public comment period, school board members merely thanked people for their comments and refused to talk about the district’s pro-transgender policies, which include allowing students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex. The district’s policy document says their policies are a direct result of court decisions and federal regulations.
Yet courts have so far handed down mixed decisions on transgender students and the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration’s push for transgender preferences in public schools. Most courts forcing transgender policies on schools are reinterpreting the word “sex” inside the federal Title IX law to mean “self-description of gender” instead, despite the lack of precedent or sense for doing so.
Republican-Run Legislature Refuses to Protect Kids
In February, Indiana’s Republican-controlled House gutted a bill that would have required schools to get parents’ informed consent to teach children LGBT ideology such as sexual orientation and gender identity. The controlling committee also deleted a requirement that parents be allowed access to all sex-related instructional materials that might be used with their children. So, thanks to this act of legislative cowardice, as Margot Cleveland wrote here at the time:
[Indiana public] Schools may teach children as young as age five that a boy can become a girl or a girl can become a boy. Teachers may tell students that they must refer to a transgender student as belonging to a false sex and using incorrect pronouns. In other words, it allows exactly what transpired in a California kindergarten in August.
Republican leadership told constituents they didn’t protect kids by passing the bill because there was no reason to. They said it was utterly ridiculous to think schools in red-state Indiana might use taxpayer dollars, facilities, employees, and other resources to indoctrinate kids with LGBT gender politics.
Yet the Brownsburg policy says its schools will allow boys to compete in girls’ athletic and music events, and vice versa. It says boys will be allowed into girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms, and vice versa. It says the school will facilitate cross-dressing for gender dysphoric students wearing uniforms for athletic, musical, and other activities. These actions teach children just as fully and boldly as a direct statement of them in sex ed class would. By allowing this behavior, the school endorses it.
Brownsburg’s policy also requires and communicates highly ideological and scientifically false ideas about human sexuality, such as this: “What does transfluid mean? This gender identity is described as a mix between male and female. People who are transfluid report feeling more male at times and at other times more female.”
The document also suggests parents be kept in the dark about whether their children will be exposed to transgenderism merely by attending public school: “By federal law, the School is prohibited from disclosing any student’s personal information with members of the public. This includes answering questions about whether a transgender students is enrolled in the School or at a specific building.”
Too bad if you wanted to preserve your child’s innocence and sense of stability as long as possible. Other people get to determine your child’s exposure to highly complex, personal, and troubling psychosexual behavior. And they don’t care about the possible social contagion effects, either, even though that means a dramatic increase in mental health problems and even plastic surgery for children. In fact, they might want those kind of effects. Lifelong medical dependency is extremely profitable, after all.
Here’s What Else Is In that Policy Document
Here are some other selected quotes from the Brownsburg schools’ policy document about transgenderism. It says that working for public schools requires, as a condition of employment, that people do things that contradict basic biological reality plus core teachings of the majority of the world’s religious adherents. Yes, it really is saying that people who are employed by taxpayers must give up their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.
It says students who are uncomfortable with lying about another child’s sex are bullies. It says teachers will not be notified that a transgender student will be in their classroom if the child enters the year after going transgender.
Elsewhere, the policy repeatedly refers people with questions to the school counselor, presumably for politically correct re-education. It’s not clear whether minor students who make such visits would be accompanied by their parents, or their parents even notified, if the visit happens during school hours. One can easily presume that the demand for school counselors will go way up. Good job security, if you can get it.
How do teachers break from their personal biases and beliefs so that we can best serve our students? We know this is a difficult topic for some staff members, however, when you work in a public school, you sign up to follow the law and the policies/practices of that organization and that might mean following practices that are different than your beliefs.
How do we address other students who are uncomfortable, who laugh, who call names, etc.? (5) This is bullying and should be dealt with in the manner we deal with other bullying situations.
How do we deal with a student exploding in anger with being called the wrong name or gender? lf it’s the fifth time this week the staff member has messed up the pronoun, then the staff member needs to get on board. However, if the student explodes on one small mistake, we would address the student behavior as we normally would.
What is the policy on informing teachers about the students who are identified as transgender? ln the year the change takes place, once we have parent permission, we then notify the teachers. Once the change in PowerSchool, etc. has taken place, there would no further notification of future teachers unless requested by the student and/or parents.
Below is a clip from a local TV station interviewing Kluge about his resignation.
Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist and author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” out from Encounter Books in 2017. Get it on Amazon.