Court: Reinstate Virginia Teacher Suspended Over Transgender Pronoun Policy

Court: Reinstate Virginia Teacher Suspended Over Transgender Pronoun Policy

The policies require all district staff to use a student's preferred gender pronouns and permitted transgender students to participate in activities consistent with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.

Two days after the meeting, Cross was placed on administrative leave with pay "pending an investigation of allegations that [he] engaged in conduct that had a disruptive impact on the operations of Leesburg Elementary School".

In a seven-page ruling, 20th Circuit Judge James E Plowman Jr ruled in his favour saying Mr Cross's rights to speech and religious liberty are central to the case.

He continued: "LCPS should not require me to violate my conscience and lie to my students".

The Washington Post reported that Cross filed a lawsuit against LCPS on 1 June - the beginning of Pride Month - alleging the school board's actions violated his freedom of speech and right to exercise his religion.

He called the board's decision to suspend Cross "an unconstitutional action" that "has silenced others from speaking publicly on the issue", according to The Washington Post.

"It is further apparent that the subject matter upon which the Plaintiff spoke can only be described as a 'matter of public concern, '" Plowman wrote.

Cross's attorney argued it was his client's right under the First Amendment of the Constitution to express his views at the public meeting.

The Loudoun County School Board suspended Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher after he told the board at a May meeting that he objected to a proposed policy that would honor a student's pronouns - a policy meant to support trans students in the district.

"My kids know I'm transgender, and many of our friends are transgender", Cris Candice Tuck, a trans parent of a 6-year-old son in Loudon, told the outlet. This lawsuit was over whether public school could punish teachers for objecting to proposed policies as a private citizen in "a forum designed for the goal of considering whether to implement such policies, where the policy would force him to express ideas about human nature, unrelated to the school's curriculum, that he believes are false", said his complaint.

Farris, himself a long-time resident of Loudoun County and former president of Patrick Henry College located there, added that "educators are just like everybody else - they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express". That's neither legal nor constitutional. "Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs", stated Farris.

"Dozens of other teachers have shared their beliefs on various policies without retaliation; Tanner deserves to be treated with the same respect", the ADF president concluded.

The decision also emphasizes concerns that the school board's behavior toward Cross has already chilled protected speech. Despite the Defendant ['] s contention that a mechanism was in place to allow him access to LCPS property, that access was not absolute and rested on the subjective determination of his supervisor.

Not only was Cross suspended for participating in a public event, but he was penalized with more than employment suspension, including the school board restricting him from school property.

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