The Virginia Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a teacher who would not call students by their preferred pronouns should be reinstated.
“The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling in June that reinstated Loudon County Public Schools teacher Tanner Cross who ruled that the school system violated his free speech after he was suspended following a school board meeting,” The Hill reported.
“The school system suspended Cross, who works at Leesburg Elementary, citing the disruption his comments caused at the school. He cited his religious beliefs at the board meeting where officials had been debating changes to its policies in its treatment of transgender students.”
“Good news! The Virginia Supreme Court rejected Loudoun County Public Schools’ appeal, affirming the Circuit Court’s decision to reinstate Leesburg Elementary School teacher Tanner Cross,” Alliance Defending Freedom Vice President Michael Friel tweeted.
Good news! The Virginia Supreme Court rejected Loudoun County Public Schools’ appeal, affirming the Circuit Court’s decision to reinstate Leesburg Elementary School teacher Tanner Cross.
— Michael Friel (@MichaelFriel) August 30, 2021
“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,” ADF senior counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement.
“The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found.”
Loudoun County has become known for its controversial debates over transgender issues and critical race theory.
“School boards across the state have been revising their policies to be more inclusive of transgender students in accordance with a new state law,” according to The Associated Press.
“But Loudoun County, outside the nation’s capital, has been a particular flashpoint in the debate over not just transgender students but also how students learn about racism and race relations.”
Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, was placed on paid administrative leave after he told the school board in a meeting that he would not use a student’s preferred pronouns because his allegiance belongs to God.
“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa, because it’s against my religion,” he said during a May 25 meeting, according to WUSA-TV. “It’s lying to a child. It’s abuse to a child. And it’s sinning against our God.”
Cross made the comments when he was voicing his dissent over a proposed district policy that would force teachers and school staff to call “transgender and gender-expansive students” by the name, pronouns and gender they choose.
Shortly after Cross expressed his opinion, the school district placed him on leave.
“This case is not about how schools should treat students who struggle with gender dysphoria. It is about whether public schools can punish a teacher for objecting, as a private citizen, to a proposed policy, in a forum designated for the purpose of considering whether to implement such policies, where the policy would force him to express ideas about human nature, unrelated to the school’s curriculum, that he believes are false,” Cross’ lawsuit stated, according to WUSA.
On June 22, several parents spoke out in defense of Cross during a board meeting, saying the school district’s efforts are bound to fail and will end up being a drain on taxpayer money, according to Fox News.
The school district sought to overturn the court order to again remove Cross from his position.
A school district spokesman said at the time it had appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court, with that ruling now favoring Cross.
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