Washington D.C., Jun 8, 2021 / 13:56 pm
A county court on Tuesday ruled that a Virginia teacher suspended for opposing a school transgender pronoun policy must be reinstated while his case continues.
The Loudoun County Circuit Court ruled that Tanner Cross, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, had to be reinstated by Loudoun County Public Schools after he was suspended for speaking out against the school district’s proposed “preferred pronoun” policy. Judge James Plowman, Jr. called the suspension an “unconstitutional action.”
“Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy,” stated Michael Farris, president and CEO of the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Cross.
“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,” Farris said. “That’s neither legal nor constitutional.”
Cross was placed on paid administrative leave by the district on May 27. He had objected to two proposed school policies during a public comment session of a May 25 school board meeting.
The proposed policies would require that students be addressed by their preferred gender pronouns, rather than the pronouns corresponding with their biological sex.
In its decision to suspend Cross, the school district cited “allegations that [Cross] engaged in conduct that had a disruptive impact on the operations of Leesburg Elementary School.” Cross was forbidden from accessing school property and attending school-sponsored events.
The school district cited six emails from five families of students asking that their children not be taught by Cross, as evidence for his disruption to school operations.