'Coerced speech' key issue in former Brownsburg teacher's suit against district

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Brownsburg Teacher Files Lawsuit Against School District
Former teacher sues district
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A former Brownsburg teacher is suing the district and he's getting support from a local religious group.

John Kluge says he was fired after he refused to call transgender students by their new names.

Instead, he chose to address all his students by their last names. He says his religious beliefs were the reason for the decision.

The Indiana Family Institute helped Kluge prepare and file a federal public interest lawsuit.

"For us, the key issue is can the government coerce speech, even of its own employees in this case a teacher. Can government force you to use certain words that put you on one side or the other of an ideological issue," said Curt Smith of IFI.

"I think that this past year has helped me really understand that I do really love to teach and I do miss those students a lot, and I think about that accommodation, as I think about it would I have changed anything, that religious belief the accommodation thereof was working and I really wish that Brownsburg would uphold that for our future generations of teachers as well," Kluge said.

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