Virginia Teacher Reinstated after Suspension over Opposing District’s Transgender Policy
A Virginia physical education teacher who was placed on administrative leave after he disputed his district’s transgender policies has been reinstated.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal advocacy organization representing Byron “Tanner” Cross, announced on Twitter Tuesday the judge’s latest ruling in the lawsuit.
“Tanner Cross, a Virginia elementary school teacher and ADF client who was suspended for raising concerns to the board about a proposed gender policy, has won a temporary injunction and the judge has ordered his reinstatement. A massive victory for freedom of speech,” ADF’s statement read.
Cross was released after he voiced his opposition to a proposed district directive that would require faculty to acknowledge and address students by their preferred gender-identity pronouns “without any substantiating evidence.”
“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,” Cross originally told the school board.
“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I am 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,” he commented.
The judge remarked that “Upholding constitutional rights serves the public interest. Affirming the unconstitutional action taken against [Tanner] which has silenced others from speaking publicly on this issue, serves the public interest. The public’s knowledge that [Tanner’s] speech was permissible, is encouraged and is free from governmental oppression serves the public interest. Governmental bodies being held in check for violating a citizen’s constitutional rights, serves the public interest,” according to ADF’s website.
The ruling comes after a crowd of protestors gathered in support of Cross last Friday, after ADF attorneys represented Tanner in court.
ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer said at the demonstration that the assault on Cross’s rights threatens the fundamental liberties of all citizens.
“Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy. For that reason, we are pleased at the court’s decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools’ retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues,” said ADF President and CEO Michael Farris.
“Educators are just like everybody else—they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express. Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs. School officials singled out his speech, offered in his private capacity at a public meeting, as ‘disruptive’ and then suspended him for speaking his mind. That’s neither legal nor constitutional. Dozens of other teachers have shared their beliefs on various policies without retaliation; Tanner deserves to be treated with the same respect,” Farris added.