PENDLETON, Ind. — A guidance counselor at a Central Indiana high school who has been on administrative leave since at least December 2022 has been fired by the local school board, which alleges that she leaked student gender plans to the public.
Kathy McCord, a former counselor at Pendleton Heights High School in Madison County, Indiana, had her teaching contract terminated Thursday night after a unanimous vote from the South Madison Community School Corporation board.
In a Facebook post, McCord’s daughter said her mom was disciplined by the school after disagreeing with and speaking publicly about an apparent plan to withhold information from parents about a student’s preferred pronouns.
This sparked controversy within the community, with the school board holding several meetings open to the public regarding McCord. Meetings in both February and early March had several community members attend in both support of and against McCord, either arguing she should be fired or kept on as a counselor.
At a meeting Thursday night, school board members again took public comments from those both in support of and against McCord. This was followed by a vote to determine whether she would be fired or not. Members voted 7-0 to fire her.
Following the vote, board member Buck Evans read a statement that claimed McCord had provided documents to a publication, The Daily Signal, regarding the school’s alleged student gender plans.
“Mrs. McCord admitted she did not tell the truth about providing Mr. Kinnett with the document or correct misleading statements within his article, although she did read it was published,” Evans said. “Misleading statements in the Daily Signal article, along with editing the document, enflamed the public unnecessarily.”
Evans then said that it is the district’s plan to meet with parents and/or guardians of a student once they request gender support.
The school board then provided, for the first time, 100 printed copies of what they said is the district’s official plan regarding student gender support. To view that copy, click here.
The board also said that on Friday it will release a full version of its findings regarding the incident.
FOX59/CBS4 spoke with the McCord family Thursday night. They said they are speaking to an attorney and have no comment for now.
The author of the article referenced by Buck Evans, Tony Kinnett, also provided a statement:
”I was provided the Gender Support Plan from both parents and staff in the South Madison school district. I have never edited it—save cutting off the blank remainder of the 3rd page when placing it as a source in my reports.”Tony Kinnett
Kinnett also called the board’s claims “grossly dishonest”.
On Friday, the school board provided the following factual basis for their decision: