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!