After Byron “Tanner” Cross, a P.E. teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, told the Loudoun County school board that he will not affirm children’s so-called “transgender” identity, citing his Christian faith, he was immediately placed on administrative leave.
Now, Mr. Cross is fighting back.
He’s gained legal support from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a nonprofit legal organization working to protect religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
Cross, represented by ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, sued the school district, last week.
“Public schools have no business compelling teachers to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold, nor do they have the right to suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting,” Langhofer said. “The school district favors a certain set of beliefs on a hotly contested issue, and it wants to force Tanner to cry uncle and endorse them as well. That’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”
Stacy Haney, an attorney for the school system, has accused Cross of disrupting the school setting with his comments and claimed that the school’s decision was not based on his belief but on the disruption, reports the Loudoun Times.
After ADF sent a letter to the district concerning his suspension and requesting Cross be reinstated, the school responded “by doubling down on its unconstitutional actions and stating that it intends to stand by its decision to suspend Cross,” ADF said in a press release. “In response, ADF attorneys filed suit against the school district Tuesday and asked the court to immediately halt the enforcement of Cross’s suspension.”
The school board’s action to suspend Cross violated the Virginia Constitution and Cross’ free exercise of religion protected under the First Amendment, says ADF.
“Loudoun County Public Schools officials suspended an elementary school teacher for voicing his objections to two proposed school policies during the public comment period of a school board meeting,” ADF emphasized. “The policies would force teachers to violate their beliefs by requiring them to address students with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, below is a portion of Cross’ comments to the school board which led to his suspension:
“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” Cross said during his brief speech, which referenced school district policies demanding Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) staff use preferred pronouns and “allow gender-expansive and transgender students to participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity.”
Referring to an explosive “60 Minutes” investigation that aired Sunday about young people regretting their transitions, Cross continued, “’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 detransitioning.”
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready. We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God,” 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 concluded.
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