GRESHAM, Ore. – An elementary school principal, Tom Klansnic, has been part of the Gresham Barlow School District for nearly a decade.
Now, the district is not renewing his contract without giving a reason why. Many think it’s because he’s openly gay.
Denise McCloud is among the parents standing up for Klansnic to find out why his contract is not being renewed. She’s leading a group of parents to attend Thursday night’s district board meeting to find answers.
“You know that’s what we’re trying to teach them. That we all stand up together,” she said. “That we all need to be looking out for each other. That we have each other’s back.”
Klansnic himself has been seeking answers from the school district since 2010. His attorney has filed legal documents with the district indicating that Klansnic is considering filing a lawsuit.
Klansnic’s attorney, Judy Snyder, said she believes the district is discriminating against her client because of his sexual orientation.
“Mr. Klansnic went through a divorce and he revealed openly that he was gay. And his relationship with the district changed almost immediately.”
During a Thursday night school board meeting, about a dozen parents and a couple students wore bright pink t-shirts to show their support for Klansnic. Those t-shirts were from the anti-bullying campaign Klansnic started at the school.
He was not at the meeting, but in a text message to a reporter he wrote, in part, "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."
His attorney has filed legal documents with the district that outline specific incidents and highlight the fact that he is considering a lawsuit to "recover damages for emotional distress as well as attorney's fees."
Contacted about the allegations, officials with the Gresham Barlow School District said they do not comment on personnel matters.
KATU News reporter Emily Sinovic contributed to this report.