Ore. Principal Says He Was Forced Out of Job Because He is Gay
An elementary school principal from Oregon believes he was forced out of his job because he is openly gay, the Oregonian reports.
Tom Klansnic, principal of North Gresham Elementary School in Gresham, Ore., (just east of Portland) says officials from the Gresham-Barlow School District did not renew his contract last year because they Klansnic came out as gay after his divorce with his wife.
Klansnic was apparently open about his homosexuality and informed teachers and parents that he is gay. On Thursday, members of school the board reconfirmed that they will not renew his contract, even though there was no public discussion.
District Communications Director Athena Vadnais said Gresham-Barlow officials do not talk about employees’ personal lives and by law, their personnel records are private. She added that Oregon school boards can terminate an administrator for any cause the school board deems in good faith sufficient." Vadnais said the district is committed to creating a discrimination-free work environment and that the its anti-discrimination policy protects gay workers.
Though Klansnic, who has been principal at the 550-student school for a decade, would not go into details about the incident, he did say he wanted to keep his job.
I love my job. I love working with kids," he said.
Capri Parker, president of the school’s parent-teacher group, raved about Klansnic, calling him "fabulous" and said "everything he has done has made our school better." She added parents only learned that Klansnic would no longer be principal just a few weeks ago and that no one has explained why he was being let go.
She said she has no clue as to why the district’s officials would do this to Klansnic. Since Parker is heavily involved with the school, she claims that she knows the school’s performance record, which does not indicated there were problems with Klansnic’s performance.
"He is a fabulous principal. My kids have loved him," she told the newspaper. "I have seen everything he has done and built at this school." Parker added the district’s decision to give him the axe "is very unsettling. Everyone is upset. The staff is not happy about it at all. The parents that do know about it are not happy at all."
Judy Snyder, Klansnic’s lawyer, said his supervisors never told him they had a problem with him being gay. Snyder did say, however, the timing of the incident seemed to be too coincidental.