Virginia Supreme Court rules in favor of teacher who refused to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns

PE teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross was placed on paid administrative leave after he took a stand during a board meeting back in May and refused to refer to the transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns. Among the rest, Cross said in his speech: “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’s against my religion.”

Once he was forbidden to step on the school’s ground, he sued Loudoun County Public Schools for violating his right to free speech and free exercise of religion as granted under the Virginia Constitution.

After Loudoun County Circuit Court ruled in favour of Cross, now the Virginia Supreme Court has done the same.

“Cross was opposing a policy that might burden his freedoms of expression and religion by requiring him to speak and interact with students in a way that affirms gender transition,” the 14-page justices wrote, as reported by The Washington Post. “Although the [Loudoun school] Board may have considered Cross’ speech to be ‘a trifling and annoying instance of individual distasteful abuse of a privilege,’ we believe Cross has a strong claim to the view that his public dissent implicates ‘fundamental societal values’ deeply embedded in our Constitutional Republic.”

Cross is now again able to do his job as a PE teacher as his lawsuit proceeds through county circuit court.

“Good news! The Virginia Supreme Court rejected Loudoun County Public Schools’ appeal, affirming the Circuit Court’s decision to reinstate Leesburg Elementary School teacher Tanner Cross,” Alliance Defending Freedom Vice President Michael Friel tweeted. The ADF is known for getting involved in lawsuits that question the rights of transgender people.

As reported by Fox News, Tyson Langhofer, ADF senior counsel, wrote in a statement that “teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting.”

For more on the story go to the video below. You can take a look at Cross’ speech from May this year here.

 

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