Virginia teacher punished for speaking out against gender policy reinstated by state Supreme Court

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The Virginia Supreme Court ruled to reinstate a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) gym teacher, affirming a lower court’s ruling that the school board’s removal of the teacher was “likely unconstitutional,” according to an Alliance Defending Freedom press release and court documents.

Leesburg Elementary School physical education teacher Tanner Cross was suspended for voicing opposition to the district’s gender policy 8040 that “requires all faculty and students, regardless of their beliefs about biological sex and gender, to use the pronouns that students demand regardless of their biological sex,” according to the press release. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Cross in court.

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“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found.”

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Cross had said at the May 25 school board meeting that he would not “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa.”

“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” Cross said. “We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.”

Cross was put on administrative leave several days later, the Daily Caller previously reported.

The policy that Cross objected to at the May 25 school board meeting was passed on Aug. 11. The passage of the policy prompted ADF attorneys to amend the lawsuit that was originally filed in June on behalf of Cross to include Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright, according to the press release.

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“Because Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment, we have moved to amend our lawsuit to challenge that policy on behalf of multiple faculty members,” Langhofer said in the press release. “Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job.”

Members of a Facebook group called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County,” which included a member of the LCPS school board, secretly worked to get Cross fired, the Daily Caller previously reported.

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Virginia Supreme Court Reinstates Teacher Removed For Speaking Out Against Gender Policy

Kendall Tietz on August 31, 2021

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