July-August 2021 Church & State Magazine | People & Events

A Virginia public school teacher who says he won’t abide by a draft district policy requiring teachers to respect the pronoun choices of transgender students must be reinstated, a court ruled in June.

Tanner Cross, a physical education instructor in Loudoun County, was suspended after he attended a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board in late May and attacked the policy, which he said would be “abuse of a child” and “sinning.”

Cross said he would never “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl, and vice versa.”

District officials suspended Cross and ordered him to stay away from the school, saying he had disrupted its operations. They noted that several parents at Leesburg Elementary School, where Cross teaches, had requested that their children be removed from his instruction.

Backed by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nationalist legal group, Cross sued in state court. A state judge, James E. Plowman Jr., ordered him reinstated while the legal case goes on.

Plowman found that the district had punished Cross for exercising his freedom of speech. The judge also said that the district had overreacted, given that the school year was drawing to a close.

District officials had no comment on the ruling.

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