The ability of public schools to require religious instructors to address transgender pupils by their preferred names and pronouns has been maintained by a US court.
Former music instructor John Kluge of Brownsburg High School south of Indianapolis sued his former employer for infringing upon his right to religious liberty by requiring him to adhere to the school’s anti-discrimination policy for trans students.
When trans students complained that being addressed just by their last names made them feel hurt and singled out in front of their friends, the school’s principal amended his policy.
The Federal Court of Appeals concluded on Friday that the school’s goal of serving all of its pupils equally would be “unduly burdened” by making an exception for Mr. Kluge.
According to the report, Mr. Kluge’s actions disrupted the learning environment and “resulted in kids feeling disrespected, targeted, and dehumanized.”
“Brownsburg has demonstrated as a matter of law that the requested accommodation worked an undue burden on the school’s educational mission by harming transgender students and negatively impacting the learning environment for transgender students, for other students in Kluge’s classes and in the school generally, and for faculty,” the court wrote, according to the Associated Press.
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When called by the wrong name repeatedly in daily life, trans individuals, like most people, frequently experience stress or anguish, and many believe that using their chosen name is an essential element of respect.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing Christian advocacy organization defending Mr. Kluge in court, stated that it would think about its options.
“In this case, Mr Kluge went out of his way to accommodate his students and treat them all respectfully. The school district even permitted this accommodation before unlawfully punishing Mr Kluge for his religious beliefs.”
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