Court Rules Teacher Suspended Over Pro-Trans Policy Should Be Reinstated

On June 8, 2021, a Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled that Tanner Cross should be reinstated as a teacher after he was suspended. Less than three months after Loudoun County Public Schools' (LCPS) appeal, Virginia's supreme court upheld the decision to restore Cross as a PE teacher at Leesburg Elementary School.

Judge James Plowman of the Loudoun County Circuit ruled that Tanner Cross was exercising his freedom of speech when he declared during a school board meeting on May 25, 2021, that he would not use the pronouns of transgender students. Cross explained that he will not "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it's against my religion." Cross added that the Loudon County School Board is trying to pass policies that lie to children, equating the policies with child abuse. He also added that the policy is "sinning against our God." In the same month, LCPS appealed the ruling to Virginia's supreme court. The school board's suspension was grounded on the disruptive nature of his comments.

Less than three months after the appeal, the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled in favor of Judge Plowman's decision. The state supreme court has ordered, in support of Cross, his reinstitution as a PE teacher. This puts in place a temporary injunction that prohibits the school board from carrying out the suspension while additional appeals are being made.

In his tweet, the vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Michael Friel, calls the supreme court's decision "good news." AFD is a conservative Christian advocacy group and has been actively 

helping conservative Christians bring institutions to court.

School boards across Virginia have been updating or installing policies that promote and establish ways to help transgender students. Most of these school board discussions are met with severe pushback, especially in the bible belt. Loudon County, VA, where the Evangelical Christian population is more dense, has been dealing with many lawsuits and resistance to the pro-trans policies.

In August, Laura Morris, a 5th-grade school teacher from Loudon County, announced her resignation during an impassioned speech directed to the Loudoun County School Board. Morris explained that the new policies being implemented "do not square" with who she is.

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