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Music teacher loses court case over challenging transgender name policy through religious freedom claims

by Premier Journalist

A music teacher has lost their bid in court over whether his decision not to abide by calling transgender students their preferred name.

John Kruge was a music teacher in the town of Brownsburg until recently. Kruge resigned from his teaching position over his unwillingness to abide by the decision of transgender students to identify by different names. Kluge explained at a press conference that he was terminated because "Brownsburg exalted sexual liberty over religious liberty by coercing teachers into speaking in a way that promoted a controversial sexual agenda rather than teaching the course content and loving the students." 

The school system had mandated that all teachers abide by these preferred names or else not be employed. When Kruge asked for accommodation, the school said that he could instead call the students by their last names for the term. However, this accommodation only lasted one year before the school requested that he either resign or they would terminate him. Kruge claims that the school had coerced him to resign.

When a federal judge reviewed the case, they determined that "religious opposition to transgenderism is directly at odds with [the district’s] policy of respect for transgender students, which is grounded in supporting and affirming those students." The judge also concluded that the Brownburg school district "has an obligation to meet the needs of all of its students, not just a majority of students or the students that were unaware of or unbothered by Mr. Kluge’s practice of using last names only.”

When asked to rule on the school's accommodation for Kruge, the court stated that "This Court is ill-equipped to answer that question definitively, but for the reasons articulated in this Order, it concludes that a name carries with it enough importance to overcome a public school corporation’s duty to accommodate a teacher’s sincerely held religious beliefs against a policy that requires staff to use transgender students’ preferred names when supported by a parent and health care provider."

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