A judge ruled Tuesday that a Virginia teacher must be reinstated after he was suspended for refusing to address transgender students by their preferred pronouns.
Judge James Plowman Jr. granted Tanner Cross’s request for a temporary injunction immediately and said the school district must allow the physical education teacher to return to his position and Loudoun County Public Schools property, according to WRC-TV.
Cross was suspended from Leesburg Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia, after remarks he made at a meeting of the Loudoun County school board last month in which he referenced a recent “60 Minutes” report that featured gender dysphoric individuals who regretted gender transition surgery, Fox News reported.
“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” Cross said.
“‘60 Minutes’ this past Sunday interviewed over 30 young people who transitioned but they felt led astray because of lack of pushback or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies,” he said. “They are now detransitioning.”
The speech came as Loudoun County Public Schools are considering a draft policy that would compel staff and students to refer to individuals by preferred pronouns.
According to Cross, the policy would be “abuse of a child” and “sinning,” WRC reported.
He told the school board that he couldn’t abide by the proposed policy because it would violate his religious beliefs.
After he was placed on leave, he filed a lawsuit against the school board and said he was being punished for exercising his First Amendment rights.
“When LCPS suspended Tanner they crossed a line, and that’s why we took them to court,” Cross’ attorney Tyson Langhofer said.
An attorney for the school system said that Leesburg Elementary’s principal had to remove Cross because he feared backlash from parents.
“Last Tuesday, I went to school board meeting and respectfully objected to two proposed policies,” Cross said at a rally after Friday’s hearing.
“When I spoke, I was thinking about my values, my students, my parents and my fellow teachers. The truth is I’m not alone. 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.”
He added, “LCPS should not require me to violate my conscience and lie to my students.”
The court ruled that Cross’ comments were protected speech and the district couldn’t prove that they caused significant disruption to school operations.
Court documents say “an aggrieved party” has 15 days to ask the court to review the ruling.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.