Oregon Principal Claims He Was Let Go For Being Gay

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com March 08 2013 7:45 PM ET

An elementary school principal in Gresham, Ore., says school leadership declined to renew his contract because he is openly gay. 

Tom Klasnic has been the principal of North Gresham Elementary School for ten years, but when his contract came up for renewal, the district declined to rehire him, reports KOINLocal6. The principal divorced his former wife three years ago, and subsequently came out as gay, reports KOIN. 

Klansnic's attorney, Judy Snyder, said that she and her client are preparing to file a lawsuit against the district alleging discrimination and retaliation. Oregon's antidiscrimination laws do include employment protections based on sexual orientation.

"He's been a very successful principal and he's continued to be a very successful principal even under close scrutiny of the last two years," Snyder told KOIN, pointing out that the school district renewed Klansnic's contract twice without performance complaints before the principal came out as gay. "He's had a great deal of difficulty getting specifics as to what he has failed to do to meet performance expectations."

The school district declined to offer specifics about why it did not renew Klansnic's contract, but did confirm that it has a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.

"It's our policy not to discuss personnel matter," said Athena Vadnais, a spokesperson for the school. "And under Oregon state law, anything within an employee's file is confidential."