The Loudoun County school board in Virginia has appealed a judge’s order to reinstate an elementary school gym teacher who criticized a board proposal to mandate the use of transgender pronouns.
The school board suspended Byron Cross after he voiced opposition to the police. Cross, represented by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sued the school district over his suspension. Circuit court Judge James Plowman reversed the school’s suspension in a June 8 decision.
The school board is continuing the fight, however, appealing Plowman’s order to the state supreme court to try and reinstate Cross’s suspension.
“Public schools have no right to suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting,” ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer told Fox News. “The lower court’s decision ordering Tanner’s reinstatement was a well-reasoned application of these facts to clearly established law, so there is no reason for the Virginia Supreme Court to take this appeal. The school district wants to force Tanner to endorse its ideals and shut down any opposing views. That violates the Constitution and laws of Virginia, and so did the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”
Plowman slammed the school board in his decision to reinstate Cross. As The Daily Wire reported:
Local WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein reported that Plowman found the “school system’s suspension was unconstitutional” and its handling of the situation was “vindictive.” The school argued that it suspended Cross not for his beliefs but because of the “disruption” he allegedly caused, but Plowman said there was “simply an absence of evidence” that any disruption to school operations took place.
Cross made the comments that eventually landed him in the ongoing legal struggle during a school board meeting in May. The proposed policy that he was speaking out against would have Loudoun County school staff to address students using their preferred pronouns.
“I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with 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 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.”
The draft of the proposed policy on transgender pronouns states 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.”