District Must Reinstate Teacher Who Opposed Transgenderism

Loudoun County School Board meeting video screenshot

Loudoun County School Board meeting video screenshot

"For that reason, we are pleased at the court's decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools' retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues".

The proposed policies would require that students be addressed by their preferred gender pronouns, rather than the pronouns corresponding with their biological sex.

"My name is Tanner Cross, and I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria", Cross, the PE teacher at Leesburg Elementary, said during the public comment segment of the school board meeting. "The Court further finds that the weight of the evidence and the totality of the circumstances, clearly show that the four prongs for issuance of a temporary injunction have been satisfied", Judge James E. Plowman, Jr. of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, wrote in his order.

Cross said that because of his Christian faith, he could not recognize "a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa". I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences.

In response, Cross filed a lawsuit against the school board and other school district officials, accusing them of engaging in "viewpoint-based retaliation".

Gym teacher Byron "Tanner" Cross told a Loudoun County Public Schools board meeting that he opposed a policy to respect trans students' pronouns and names because it is "lying" and "abuse to a child".

Cross's attorney argued it was his client's right under the First Amendment of the Constitution to express his views at the public meeting.

In the ruling, Plowman called the district's suspension of Cross "unnecessary and vindictive".

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Cross is only the latest educator caught up in the controversy surrounding preferred pronoun rules in schools.

"Here, it was clear that the Plaintiff was speaking as a citizen, not in his official capacity".

The ruling has disappointed many trans parents and parents of trans children.

"Many of us are concerned that proposed policies would harm students and require us to violate our beliefs by saying things that are not true", Cross said.

Mike Farris, ADF's president, hailed the decision, saying in a statement on June 8: "Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy". That's neither legal nor constitutional.

"Advocating for causes I believe in, on my personal time, should not cost me my job", Cross told supporters on Friday at Leesburg's Cornerstone Chapel, where he is a member.

Cross was prohibited from entering the property of Loudon County Public Schools for any event unless permitted to do so. The temporary injunction will allow Cross to maintain his job until December 31, at which point the injunction will dissolve unless other orders are put in place. "In assessing whether similarly situat [ed] persons would be chilled by the government conduct, the Plaintiffs offer five Declarations from LCPS staff employees, who each declare that they wish to make public comment regarding the same issues that Plaintiff spoke, but due to the actions of LCPS in suspending Plaintiff for his speech, they are afraid to speak publicly for fear of similar retaliation", is said.

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