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Attorney: Gay school principal being let go because of his sexuality


A Gresham elementary school principal claims he is losing his job because of his sexual orientation, according to the principal's attorney.by: KOIN - Tom Klansnic

Tom Klansnic, principal of North Gresham Elementary School, was told by the district on Thursday, March 7, that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the year. The district has not provided a reason for its decision.

Klansnic is in his 10th year as principal.

Friends and supporters of Klansnic attended Thursday's School Board meeting wearing T-shirts and carrying messages to express their disappointment in the board’s decision.

"I think it is unfortunate," said Denise McCloud. "I don't see how anyone's sexual orientation has anything to do with the job that they do."

Klansnic's attorney, Judy Snyder, said she and her client were preparing to file a lawsuit against the Gresham Barlow School District for discrimination and retaliation.

"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 said.

Several years ago, during his seventh year as principal, Klansnic and his wife divorced. He revealed to family and friends that he is gay. Snyder said Klansnic's supervisors’ treatment of her client changed dramatically in wake of the revelation.

Snyder points out that her client's contract with the district had been renewed twice without performance complaints before he revealed he was gay.

"He's had a great deal of difficulty getting specifics as to what he has failed to do to meet performance expectations," Snyder said.

Klansnic will finish the year as principal at North Gresham Elementary School, his attorney said.

The Gresham Barlow School District said it could not comment on a personnel matter.

Brent Weisberg and Kohr Harland of KOIN Local 6 contributed to this news story.