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Judge Orders School District to Reinstate Religious Gym Teacher Who Said He Refused to Use Preferred Pronouns


A judge is ordering a Virginia school district to reinstate a gym teacher who gave a speech in which he said he refused to use preferred pronouns with students.

Byron Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary in Virginia, gave a speech at a public school board meeting in Loudoun County. He opposed a proposed policy that would let transgender and “gender-expansive” students use names and pronouns “that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record.”

Cross refused, saying he was “speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria.”

60 Minutes, this past Sunday, interviewed over 30 young people who transitioned,” he said. “But they felt led astray because lack of pushback, or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies in just 3 months. They are now de-transitioning. It is not my intention to hurt anyone. But there are certain truths that we must face when ready.  We condemn school policies like 8040 and 8035 because it will damage children, defile the holy image of God. I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I’m a teacher but I serve God first. And I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion. It’s lying to a child. It’s abuse to a child. And it’s sinning against our God.”

Critics say that the 60 Minutes segment disproportionately emphasized out-of-context detransitioning stories over more typical, positive transitioning experiences. As for Cross, he ended up suing the Loudoun County School Board, saying it put him on administrative leave. 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 purpose 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.

Judge James Plowman sided with Cross on Tuesday, saying the plaintiff was speaking out of working hours as a citizen, not in his capacity as a teacher. The court determined that the Loudoun County Public School’s stated reason for putting Cross on leave was weak and that no evidence showed his comments caused a disruption to school operations.

The court docket does not, at the time of this writing, reflect that the judge has issued an order. The most recent docket activity dates back to June 4.

Loudoun County Public Schools public information officer Wayde Byard declined to comment when Law&Crime reached out by phone.

Aaron Keller contributed to this report.

[Screengrab via WSLS 10]

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