Tom Klansnic was the principal for North Gresham Elementary School in Oregon, but he did not leave his job of his own free will. He was essentially fired, and he believes that he was fired for being gay.
Last year, Klansnic came out as gay after divorcing his wife. He was open about being gay even telling teachers and parents. However, the school board decided that they would not renew his contract, and did so without any discussion with the parents or teachers of the school district.
Director of Communications for the District Athena Vadnais noted that “Oregon school boards can terminate an administrator for any cause the school board deems in good faith sufficient.” She also noted that the district is committed to creating discrimination free work environments and that its anti-discrimination policy protest cay workers.
Of course, when someone works “at the discretion of”, anti-discrimination policies are pretty much worthless. Vadnais offered no other explanation for why Klansnic was let go. He did state that “I love my job. I love working with kids.”
Capri Parker, the president of the school’s parent-teacher group, offered nothing but praise for Klansnic, and noted that parents had not learned why he was let go. In fact, they had not been informed that he had been let go until a few weeks ago.
She told a newspaper that Klansnic “is a fabulous principal. My kids loved him. I’ve seen everything he has done and built at this school.” She also noted that “Everyone is upset. The staff is not happy about it at all. The parents that do know about it are not happy at all.” Seems like his being gay is not a problem. She also has access to the school’s performance reviews and noted that the school was performing just fine.
Klansnic’s lawyer, Judy Snyder, noted that his supervisors had never informed him of any problems with him being gay, but that the timing of this incident is far too coincidental to be coincidental.
She noted that “You have a principal who is highly successful who is in the middle of his third three- year contract. Then he comes out of the closet and he is divorcing, and suddenly his work becomes deficient and he is being micromanaged.” Snyder added that Klansnic wants to finish out the year positively for students, and did not seek for media coverage.
Klansnic is considering filing a discrimination lawsuit, but there has been some kind of agreement reached between Klansnic and the school district, but nothing has been announced, and will not be until such time as the deal is finalized.