The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision on Monday to reinstate Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teacher Tanner Cross after he was suspended for speaking out about a controversial transgender policy proposal.
The school district first fired Cross after he opposed proposals that would force educators to use students’ “preferred pronouns” instead of acknowledging their sex.
“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first. I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa, because it’s against my religion,” Cross said. “It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
In a previous lower court ruling, a Virginia judge ordered LCPS to temporarily reinstate Cross to his position as a physical education teacher and “remove the ban prohibiting him from Loudoun County Public Schools property and events” until December 31, 2021.
While the controversial school board moved forward with a new policy that requires students and staff to deny sex and acknowledge “gender-expansive or transgender” students with pronouns handpicked by the minors, Alliance Defending Freedom is requesting that the trial court allow them to amend the lawsuit and expand their legal pursuits to encompass more Loudoun teachers who don’t agree with the change.
“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found. But because Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment, we have moved to amend our lawsuit to challenge that policy on behalf of multiple faculty members. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job.”