Oregon Principal Says He Was Fired Because He Came Out

tomklansnicAn Oregon principal claims he’s being let go because of his sexual orientation, and is considering an anti-discrimination suit.

Tom Klansnic, principal of North Gresham Elementary School, says the board voted to not renew his three-year contract at the end of this term because, a few years ago, he divorced his wife and let teachers and parents know he was gay.

The Gresham-Barlow school district has not commented on its decision, but a spokesperson said the schools are dedicated to providing a discrimination-free work environment—including anti-gay discrimination.

Klansnic’s attorney, Judy Snyder, says it doesn’t add up: “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.”

Supportive students and parents attended a school-board meeting on Thursday wearing pink shirts.

“He is a fabulous principal. My kids have loved him,” said PTA president Capri Parker, who believes there’s nothing in Klansnic’s record to indicate he shouldn’t have been renewed: “I  have seen everything he has done and built at this school,” she told The Oregonian. [His ousting] 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.”

Just last month the owner of a bakery in Gresham came under fire for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.  And in 2011, the school district in Beaverton, Oregon (about 20 miles from Gresham) had to shell out $75,000 to a student teacher who was reassigned after discussing same-sex marriage with a fourth-grader.


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  • Dakotahgeo

    I would say a $3-4 million dollar lawsuit, taxes paid by the school district and re-instatement of said Principal… for starters! Where do they get these dumbass school bored members? Probably all former “jocks.” Not one brain between them all!

  • Cam

    Gee, a school board full of bigots? What a shock!


    The bakery, the student teacher, and now this?!?! It sounds like that area is not very open-minded. What a shame…it sounds like he was a great principal.

  • jar The other possibility is that gay and lesbians in this community feel empowered to challenge these actions due to the improved climate in that part of the country. I am not sure which is correct, but it is not uncommon to see a seeming rise in events simply because people choose to stand up and fight. Also social media has had an effect on empowerment- as in the florist case. That couple apparently only posted a comment on facebook and the issue blew up, as opposed to filing an actual complaint with the relevant agency and starting a legal action.

  • jar

    Also, as this incident indicates, the larger community is starting to stand up with and for us, which is a good thing.

  • Billysees

    @jar: 5

    It is a good thing.

    But, there’s still the long and winding road of worthy LGBT acceptance.

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