Gresham-Barlow School District: Do Not Oust Principal Tom Klansnic for Illegal Reasons (Oregon Equality Act)
  • Petitioned Randy Bryant

This petition was delivered to:

Executive Director of Human Resources, Gresham-Barlow School District
Randy Bryant
Executive Director of Elementary Education, Gresham-Barlow School District
Anita Harris
Executive Director of Assessment and Accountability, Gresham-Barlow School District
Tim Drilling
Superintendent, Gresham-Barlow School district
Jim Schlachter

Gresham-Barlow School District: Do Not Oust Principal Tom Klansnic for Illegal Reasons (Oregon Equality Act)

    1. Seth Stambaugh
    2. Petition by

      Seth Stambaugh

      Portland, OR

May 2013


From Seth Stambaugh: While this is not exactly a victory, I think any time a queer educator has the courage to stand up for their rights it sends a positive message to youth about acceptance, or, at the very least, tolerance. Mr. Klansnic, by his very action of breaking the silence that surrounds queer people in education, continued to be a remarkable educator. I am proud to follow his legacy as a teacher as he enters retirement.

Years ago I was fired from a student teaching position because I am gay. I fought the decision and was reinstated and am now saddened, angered, and disheartened by hearing that long-term Gresham elementary school principal Tom Klansnic is being ousted from his job because of his sexual orientation.

Many people agree that the decision to oust him from his long-term position where he is valued by students, parents, and teachers alike is an unfair and discriminatory one.


(This background was created by Heidi Smithee, a former student of Mr. Klansnic's.  She is the co-writer of this petition.)

The news broke while the school was in the midst of a weeklong anti-bullying and tolerance program, initiated by a parent and planned with Klansnic and the school counselor.

A group of parents want to know why Mr. Klansnic's contract isn’t being renewed. They attended the School Board meeting on Thursday, March 7th in pink shirts that students had worn for the week’s anti-bullying program. They demanded answers and received none.

According to Judy Snyder, Klansnic’s attorney, “[three years ago] Mr. Klansnic went through a divorce and he revealed openly that he was gay. And his relationship with the district changed almost immediately.” She further stated that “the district has been unable to provide specifics as to what he failed to do to meet performance expectations." Klansnic and his attorney have filed legal documents with the district and are considering a lawsuit.

As KOIN 6 reports, the district said it is “‘committed to a work environment that is free of discrimination and this is supported by district policy.’" The news outlet reported that “the policy states the district shall promote nondiscrimination and an environment free of harassment based on an individual’s sexual orientation.”

Klansnic sent a text to a reporter who was at the School Board meeting in which he stated "I am lucky to have a career that I love so much. It is a DREAM JOB! The teachers, kids, and parents at NORTH GRESHAM GRADE SCHOOL are an awesome group of people."

It is time to continue setting the example that GLBTQ people are entirely fit to work with children and in education. Let's petition the Gresham-Barlow School District so that this fantastic, dedicated educator can keep his job.

Tweet this petition, e-mail it to your friends and families, blow it up on Facebook, print a few copies of the link and hand them out to people.

Also find the link to a Facebook page supporting Tom Klansnic here:

Thank you for your support!

Randy Bryant, Executive Director of Human Resources, Gresham-Barlow School District
Anita Harris, Executive Director of Elementary Education, Gresham-Barlow School District
Tim Drilling, Executive Director of Assessment and Accountability, Gresham-Barlow School District
Jim Schlachter, Superintendent, Gresham-Barlow School district
Do Not Oust Principal Tom Klansnic.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. 1,000

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      1,000. Knew we could do it, and thank you so much to all 1,000 of you.


    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. GBSD Elementary Principal Job Posted

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      The Gresham Barlow School District has posted a job on their HR website for an elementary principal. In an act of supreme cowardice, the district has neglected to name which school the position is for. This is a clear act of political posturing, and I would not be surprised if they transferred a principal from a different GBSD school to North Gresham Elementary and then hired a new principal elsewhere to help cover their tracks. Ultimately, this job is to replace Tom Klansnic, no matter what dubiously creative and highly transparent tactic they use.

      It is important that it is known that the district is still quietly moving ahead with its plan to oust Mr. Klansnic. Those connected to North Gresham in any way: DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! Let your voices be heard! If this petition is not working, hand write a letter. Make a phone call to Randy Bryant, Executive Director of Human Resources. Send him an email. Make it known that this action will not be tolerated.

    4. International Support

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      As of this afternoon this petition has received widespread international support, including from:
      Prague, Czech Republic,
      Near Amsterdam, Netherlands
      Dublin, Ireland
      Antwerpen, Belgium
      Calgary and Grand Lake, Canada

      How awesome!

      I also found out Mr. Klansnic's birthday is near, so let's all make sure he feels the support.


    5. Reached 750 signatures
    6. We Can Make 1,000

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      Mr. Klansnic's story made the news in the UK today:

      We reached the new goal of 500 signatures. Let's make it 1,000 as soon as possible by continuing to share it with friends and family.

      Great work everybody, together we can help keep a gifted educator in education, something we desperately need more of.


      Beloved elementary school principal being 'forced from job after coming out as gay'

      A beloved elementary school principal in Oregon claims he's being forced from the job after coming out as gay sparking anger among parents but no comment from his school district.

    7. Reached 500 signatures
    8. Increasing Goals and Facebook

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      After reaching our original goal of 100 signatures I have increased the goal to 250. Way to go, friends and allies! I hope to be able to increase the goal every day...let's get over 1,000 Spread the word and the link to this petition:

      with family, friends, Twitter, on Facebook, on Reddit, with students who support Mr. Klansnic (the voices of children will be heard!).

      Also, check out the Facebook page in support of Tom Klansnic here:



      Keep Mr. Klansnic at North Gresham

      This is a page to show our support to Tom Klansnic. He is a wonderful Principal and should have his...

    9. Reached 100 signatures
    10. Amazing

      Seth Stambaugh
      Petition Organizer

      It is amazing that nearly 40 people understand why this is so important so immediately. Please pass on this link:

      to anyone and everyone you may know who will support this cause.

      If we don't take up each others causes we will never make change, and GLBTQ people, especially, need allies from the majority.

      Thank you to all who have signed and all who will. Please pass the love, or at the very least the tolerance, on. We need you, and we are good educators.

      Gresham-Barlow School District: Do Not Oust Principal Tom Klansnic

      Years ago I was fired from a student teaching position because I am gay. I fought the decision and was reinstated and am now saddened, angered, and...

    11. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Suzanne Pupo VANCOUVER, WA
      • about 1 year ago

      Tom Klansnic is a revered teacher,dedicated educator, principal and human being. Shame on those who discriminate.

    • Carrie Adams GRESHAM, OR
      • about 1 year ago

      This is just wrong. Try explaining to your little ones when they ask you why their beloved principal is not coming back. People who know Tom Klansnic know he is a great teacher and person. In times when we are teaching kids that bullying is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated, this situation comes to light. Kids learn more by our actions vs. what we tell them is right or wrong. If you tell your child that smoking is wrong and then you pick up a cigarette and start smoking, what message does that send to your child. Bullying is wrong, we drill that into our kids' heads but these kids are learning from our School Board that in this instance, it's ok. This is NOT ok. We support Tom Klansnic 100%. The GBSD just lost an amazing principal, teacher and role model.

    • Kelly Peterson PACIFIC PALISADES, CA
      • about 1 year ago

      This is illegal and immoral. History will look back on this case the same way we look back on civil rights cases from the '60s. Shame on you for ousting an outstanding principal who has done so much for these students.

    • Bethany Masters GRESHAM, OR
      • about 1 year ago

      Mr. K is an excellent teacher and leader. He has overseen my daughter all the way from 1st grade to her last days just before middle school, and my son's first steps into kindergarten. He's a proactive leader and makes it his mission to help any child in need. We all believe his kindness and generosity should be rewarded! We all stand behind Mr. Klansnic!

    • Cody Anderson PORTLAND, OR
      • about 1 year ago

      Tom helped me out constantly when I was attending shaver and you could see how much he cared about the students and staff. If huge amounts of kids started crying at the assembly when they heard the news you would think they would realize how important and loved by students Tom is.


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