An elementary school teacher in Virginia was placed on administrative leave this week after refusing to affirm transgender identities in children, claiming such behavior is against his faith and “defiles the holy image of God.”
Byron “Tanner” Cross, who teaches physical education at Leesburg Elementary School, explained to the Loudoun County school board Tuesday that he will not “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa” because he loves children who struggle with gender dysphoria and refuses to lie to them, according to Fox News.
“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.
According to an email obtained by Fox News via the group Parents Against Critical Theory, Cross was placed on leave from Leesburg Elementary School two days after his statement. “I’m contacting you to let you know that one of our physical education teachers, Tanner Cross, is on leave beginning this morning,” wrote Principal Shawn Lacey. “In his absence, his duties will be covered by substitute staff already working in our building.”
“I wanted you to know this because it may affect your student’s school routine. Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information,” Lacey added.
Wayde Byard, a spokesman for the school, told Fox News that “the decision to place an employee on leave is not the principal’s.”
“The contents of personnel files are confidential under state and federal law. I cannot comment other to say that Mr. Cross is on administrative leave with pay,” Byard added.
According to policy 8040 of LCPS, one of the policies Cross referenced, “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.”
“School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate. Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy,” the policy added.