An Indiana music theory teacher pushed out of his job for refusing to call transgender students their preferred names and pronouns took a hit from a federal judge Friday who upheld a lower court’s ruling that the school district did not violate his rights.
Former Brownsburg High School teacher John Kluge sued the school district alleging religious discrimination after he cited his personal religious convictions for refusing to abide by the name and pronoun policy, opting to address transgender students by their last names instead.
According to Fox News, The school district, after enacting the policy in 2017, initially agreed to let Kluge use last names to address the students instead, according to The Associated Press.
Some students alleged the move created an uncomfortable classroom experience and singled out students who identified as transgender and reported their concerns.
Kluge said he later resigned inn 2018 after the school reevaluated the last name policy and told him he would be fired if he did not comply with the preferred name and pronoun rule on the books.
He sued with the help of conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom a year later, alleging workplace discrimination while requesting his job back and unspecified money damages, AP reported.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Kluge’s religious convictions on the issue disrupted classroom operations, upholding an Indiana federal judge’s previous ruling that the refusal “created an undue hardship on the district.”
“Brownsburg has demonstrated as a matter of law that the requested accommodation worked an undue burden on the school’s educational mission by harming transgender students and negatively impacting the learning environment for transgender students, for other students in Kluge’s classes and in the school generally, and for faculty,” the court’s opinion read.