Community members blasted the board of Loudon County Public Schools for suspending an elementary gym teacher who spoke out against its proposed transgender pronoun policy.
Community members rallied around Byron Cross on Tuesday evening, ripping into the board and accusing it of retaliating against Cross for speaking out against the proposed school policy at a meeting in which the board had requested public comment on those policies. Cross had been reinstated into his teaching position earlier that day by order of a judge.
“Where is your regard for our freedom of speech?” said Rachel Pisani, a mother of three children, according to Fox News. “When I saw a teacher express an opinion and suspended for expressing his religious beliefs, I could no longer stay silent. When did it become acceptable to be tolerant only when someone expresses a view that we agree with?”
“When did it become appropriate to silence those that hold Christian, biblical views just because you don’t?” she continued. “When did it become appropriate to allow the school board – I don’t know who you think you are – but it is not appropriate, it is not allowable to silence, bully, or dismiss our views.”
Jeremy Wright, a teacher, left the school board copy of the First Amendment on the podium after he spoke.
“For the members of Chardonnay Antifa, here is your assignment with a copy of the First Amendment attached,” Wright said. “I’m going to leave this here, and I hope you learn something.”
Cross was placed on leave after he vocally refused to follow a proposed policy that would force teachers and students to refer to others using their preferred pronouns. Cross, a teacher at Leesburg elementary, said at a May 25 Loudon County Public Schools board meeting that he would not refer to students with pronouns that conflict with their biological gender, as doing so would be “lying” to the student and “sinning against our God.”
“I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria,” began Cross, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary School. “‘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 in just three months. They are now de-transitioning.”
“It is not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths we must face when ready,” he continued. “I love all of my students but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. 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, it’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
Cross was speaking out against a draft of a proposed policy, which reads in part: “LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record.”
Cross had sued the school district last week over his suspension.
Related: 60 Minutes Runs Explosive Segment Featuring Young Transgender Individuals Who Decided To Reverse Course