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Inside the conversation that led to the firing of Pendleton school counselor

PENDLETON, Ind. (WISH) — The counselor fired from South Madison Community School Corp. earlier this year knew she could potentially lose her job when she confirmed information to a member of the media.

That is according to Tony Kinnett. Kinnett is an investigating columnist who writes for the Daily Signal, a conservative American political media news website.

The fired Pendleton Heights High School counselor, Kathy McCord, sued the school district this week. A 72-page lawsuit was filed in federal court in Indianapolis. She alleges violations of her First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights, and wants her job back.

With the help of McCord, Kinnett broke the story of the district’s policy preventing teachers and counselors from telling parents their students wanted to be called by a different pronoun.

The school board later fired McCord to confirming the existence of the policy to Kinnett.

Now, Kinnett is sharing details about the conversation that ultimately led to McCord getting fired. “I did drive out to her house at about 8:30 at night,” Kinnett told I-Team 8.

McCord has told News 8 she was just being honest with Kinnett by confirming the information.

Kinnett says McCord was aware of the potential consequences when he published his column. “Kathy didn’t want to be fired, doesn’t want to have been fired, but yet she did have an idea that she might be fired,” Kinnett said.

Kinnett believes everyone, no matter their political stances, should be allowed to be a whistleblower without the fear of being fired. “Whether they’re on the left, right, or center should be protected and being able to say, ‘This is what’s going on,’” Kinnett said. “I do think you could see more whistleblowers in the future. I certainly hope so. and I hope that they’re protected.”

I-Team 8 called South Madison school superintendent to get an interview. He did not call back.