A teacher in Virginia filed a lawsuit against his school district after his principal fired him for rejecting policies that would implement transgender ideology in local schools.
Byron Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, filed a lawsuit last week against the Loudon County School Board for sanctioning him for expressing concern about a proposed policy.
Filed in Loudon County Circuit Court, the lawsuit accused the board of directors, Acting Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler and another official of “retaliation based on point of view.”
ââ¦ This case is not about how schools should treat students struggling with gender dysphoria,â the legal file said.
“The question is whether public schools can punish a teacher for opposing, as a private citizen, a proposed policy, in a forum designated for the purpose of considering whether to implement such policies, where the policy would force him to express ideas about the natural man, unrelated to the school curriculum, which he believes to be false.
Cross is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal nonprofit based in Scottsdale, Arizona, which has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court.
Senior ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer said in a statement he believed public schools could not “suspend someone just for respectfully expressing their opinion at a public meeting.”
âThe school district promotes a certain set of beliefs on a very controversial issue, and it wants to force Tanner to mourn his uncle and endorse them as well,â Langhofer said. “It’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school’s decision to put Tanner on leave.”
Last month, Cross told the Loudoun County School Board in a meeting that he could not “claim that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa.”
âMy name is Tanner Cross and I speak out of love for those with gender dysphoria,â Cross said at the May 25 meeting.
âI love all of my students, but I will never lie to them, no matter what the consequences. I am a teacher, but I serve God first and I will not assert that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion.
Two days after the meeting, the school informed Cross that he had been placed on paid administrative leave “pending an investigation into the allegations that [he] engaged in conduct which had a disruptive impact on the operations of Leesburg Elementary School.
The proposed policy, known as Policy 8040, would require staff and students at Loudon schools to use the chosen pronouns of students who identify as transgender or “gender-extensive.”
“LCPS staff must allow transgender or transgender students to use the name and gender pronouns chosen that reflect their gender identity without any compelling evidence, regardless of the name and sex recorded in the permanent academic record of the student, âexplains a draft policy. .
âUnintentional errors in the use of nouns or pronouns can 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.
His attorneys have filed a motion for a temporary injunction and a preliminary injunction that would end the school district‘s actions against Cross while the lawsuit is tried.
Cross isn’t the only teacher at a Virginia public school recently caught up in the controversy over transgender ideology and gender identity in the classroom.
In 2019, a high school French teacher named Peter Vlaming sued the West Point School Board over his dismissal for using the chosen name of a trans-identified student instead of his preferred pronouns.
West Point Superintendent Laura Abel said in a statement released in December 2018 that she viewed Vlaming’s actions as discriminatory, noting that the student “felt disrespectful.”
âThis discrimination then leads to the creation of a hostile learning environment. And the student had expressed it. The parent had expressed that, âAbel said at the time.