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Virginia Teacher Sues Over Suspension For Publicly Opposing Proposed “Preferred Pronoun” Policy

Virginia Teacher Sues Over Suspension For Publicly Opposing Proposed “Preferred Pronoun” Policy

“… I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”

Virgina elementary school physical education teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross was suspended after he appeared at a Loudon County School Board meeting, and voiced his views on student transitioning in the aftermath of a 60 Minutes segment.

Fox News reported:

During a Loudoun County school board meeting Tuesday, teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross voiced his opposition to policies surrounding gender.

“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” Cross told the board. He went on to discuss a “60 Minutes” special about the issue.

“’60 Minutes’ this past Sunday interviewed over 30 young people who transitioned but they felt led astray because of lack of pushback or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies… They are now detransitioning,” he said.

“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready. We condemn school policies [that] would 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’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”

Now he has filed suit, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty legal group with a very successful track record, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. ADF’s Press Release on the lawsuit states, in part:

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Leesburg Elementary School teacher filed a lawsuit against Loudoun County Public Schools Tuesday after officials suspended him for voicing his objections to two proposed school policies during the public comment period of a school board meeting. The policies would force teachers to violate their conscience as educators and their deeply held beliefs by requiring them to address students with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex.

The teacher, Tanner Cross, attended Loudoun County’s school board meeting May 25, where he respectfully explained his concern for students who struggle with gender dysphoria and also his concern about being forced to speak something he knows to be false and to violate his beliefs. Two days after the meeting, the school informed Cross in a letter that he was being placed on administrative leave “pending an investigation of allegations that [he] engaged in conduct that had a disruptive impact on the operations of Leesburg Elementary School.” …

ADF attorneys sent a letter to the school district Friday explaining that placing Cross on leave and barring him from campus because of his constitutionally protected speech constituted illegal retaliation. ADF requested that the school reinstate Cross, rescind the suspension and remove the letter from his file, and refrain from any future retaliation against protected speech if the district wished to avoid legal action.

The school responded to the letter by doubling down on its unconstitutional actions and stating that it intends to stand by its decision to suspend Cross. In response, ADF attorneys filed suit against the school district Tuesday and asked the court to immediately halt the enforcement of Cross’s suspension.

As the lawsuit Cross v. Loudoun County School Board filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court explains, the school board’s actions violated the Virginia Constitution when it punished Cross by retaliating against him for expressing his beliefs in a public forum, and also violated his free exercise of religion by discriminating against his religious beliefs.

What could be key in the Cross case is that he didn’t even violate a policy, he expressed opposition to a proposed policy.

A ruling is expected as early as Monday, since emergency injunctive relief is sought.

This case seems similar to the case of Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, also represented by ADF, we followed, Professor Who Refused To Obey “Preferred Pronouns” Can Continue Lawsuit, Appeals Court Rules.

 

 

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Comments

“… he didn’t even violate a policy, he expressed opposition to a proposed policy.”

In the eyes of Loudoun County leftists, “proposed” really means pre-ordained.

    irv in reply to Rab. | June 4, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Not just Loudoun County. What the Left deems right and true, MUST NOT be opposed.

    henrybowman in reply to Rab. | June 5, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Of course, the argument here will not be about constitutionally protected speech but about failure to adhere to employment-related requirements.

    It’s like a congressional aide being fired for refusing an order to pick up a suitcase full of small bills from a campaign donor, and the congresswoman arguing that it was part of his job description. The proper question to adjudicate is not, did the aide refuse, but was the requirement reasonable?

      Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | June 8, 2021 at 11:40 am

      He didn’t fail to adhere. All he did was object to the proposed policy. That’s 100% protected speech. If the policy were adopted, he could still object to it but he would have to obey it anyway.

He has an ironclad and case and about a 50% chance the courts will rule in his favor. Eventually. If they offer to settle out of court, he should take it.

    AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to irv. | June 7, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Sure. Take the settlement and run.

    I guess if the Germans decided to pay the Allies to not land on the beach on June 6, they should all have taken that money and settle.

    At some point, this teacher must stand his ground, and fight for his beliefs. Otherwise, he is no better than the people he opposes. At least they will stand their ground.

    He needs to sue the school district for so much money that the taxpayers need to feel the pain of electing school boards like this.

JusticeDelivered | June 5, 2021 at 1:28 am

I object to young people, minors being led astray about trans stuff. Of course they are confused, everyone is during puberty. Hormones are driving drastic changes, it is a tough time. They have no idea what they are going to be, and they will not know until puberty is complete.

Children are being used in a huge experiment which could easily damage them for life. Someone is hyping be trans in our schools. Children that age should not be exposed to these concepts. It is child abuse.

Puberty, and early adulthood is difficult. One quite attractive young lady had her breasts removed. She will never know the joy of breast feeding her babies, and those babies will be denied significant health benefits of nursing.

The making game is rough for both males and females, yet that process teaches us about what we really want in a mate. It is usually worth the pain we endure in the process. I think that we become better people because of it.

    And yet, parents still send their children to schools (government and private) which are complicit in this experiment. And churches fail to warn parents that this is not good.

    Milhouse in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 8, 2021 at 11:49 am

    What puberty? He’s an elementary school teacher. These kids are way before puberty. They’re at the age where it is normal to fantasize and role play and try out different identities. It’s completely normal for young children to imagine they are the opposite sex, just as it’s normal form them to imagine they are various animals, or princes/princesses, or fictional characters. It’s a legitimate question to what extent the adults around them should play along. But in this case the policy he objected to would not have said to play along with the child’s fantasy, it would have said that the teacher must seriously believe it, or at least act as if he did; and that’s insane.

Everything is so stupid.
When addressing a person, we use the pronoun “you” which is not gendered. So I don’t care what you are or what you believe you are, I will use “you” when talking to you.
When I am not talking to you, my choice of words is none of your darn business.

This is all about having the power to crush you if you don’t toe the line.

Let’s ALL stop caving to the new language. STOP using “she” when referring to male cross-dressers, even if they self-mutilated themselves.

We can win this if we just stop surrendering right out of the gate on everything. If we cave so easily on something so obviously stupid and creepy, who the hell are we? What planet am I on?

Mr Cross has an excellent set of facts and is likely to prevail if the district decides to go to court.

He didn’t violate any policy. He spoke against the policy at a public forum, school board meeting, where the public is provided the opportunity to do so.

The district should immediately settle. If not, they are likely to pay a much higher cost financially and have a CT ruling that would preclude their policy.

All they had to do is provide an off ramp for religious accommodation. Their arrogant refusal will be costly, IMO.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to CommoChief. | June 5, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Virginia has become a Leftist state. The county it is in is literally part of the DC metroplex. It is enemy territory. The odds of a Leftist court following the law or the Constitution over the political correctness of the moment are bloody slim.

    Subotai Bahadur

      CommoChief in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | June 5, 2021 at 4:08 pm

      IMO, you are way to pessimistic about the judiciary. Heck a Federal Judge in CA just ruled against the State’s ban on AR 15.

      The thing is that if the courts decide not to apply constitutional protections then it isn’t simply in the case before them. It creates a precedent for people in similar circumstances.

      For the judiciary to say that employers don’t have to make efforts towards religious accommodation and that public employees can be punished for exercise of free speech by disagreement with policies at an open, public forum created by the elected body which oversees the employer would be very new ground.

      IMO, it would not stand. If it did then the precedent would have far reaching consequences that would injure a number of d/progressive causes/allies.

    catscradle in reply to CommoChief. | June 5, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    The persons running the school and deciding policy will not pay a dime. The taxpayers will.

      henrybowman in reply to catscradle. | June 5, 2021 at 4:27 pm

      If it were a county other than blue Loudon, I might shed more than a tear.

      CommoChief in reply to catscradle. | June 5, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      More correctly their insurer will but if ruled that the individual board members acted to violate his rights under sec 1983 they could be individually liable, potentially.

      Every official who violates civil rights using their public authority to do so is liable for an 1983 claim, not just LEO.

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to catscradle. | June 7, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      I hope so. The damage to the taxpayer needs to be felt. they elected the school board, they can pay for their decision.

Pronouns are a closed class – new ones are not discovered – like prepositions are a closed class.

You can use something else as a pronoun but it’s not a pronoun, just as you can use a tree stump as a chair but it’s not a chair. You’re relying on a syntactic blank space that can only be filled by a pronoun to pull it off, but there’s always the extra step: what sort of thing goes here?

Nouns and verbs are invented when there’s a use for them. Not pronouns.

    Ben Kent in reply to rhhardin. | June 5, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Your comments on grammar and logic are impeccable.
    And your comments are simply irrelevant to the Progressive Marxists.

Think of invented pronouns like taboo words. Saying that in “That’s f*cking stupid” “f*cking” is an adverb, misses the function. It’s taking advantage of grammar to insert itself, but it isn’t for all that an adverb.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to rhhardin. | June 5, 2021 at 10:49 am

    See fascism at work. Make sure you vote for school board. If the candidate is backed by the union, do not vote for them. Once you have power, purge the administration and defund the union.

    Governors need to take control of the state boards of regents or similar bodies and assert control over the state funded colleges and universities from where this rot is arising.

What’s the rule on blonde vs blond, or brunette vs brunet? English still divides these by gender. We need people to declare their hair color. Blondx.

    henrybowman in reply to rhhardin. | June 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Those, along with fiancé and fiancée, are honored more in the breach nowadays anyway. I can’t remember the last time I saw the word “brunet” gainfully employed.

    SeiteiSouther in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Blonde is feminine.

    Blond is masculine.

Hello,
Please sign the petition linked below to support Tanner Cross. Thank you.

https://afa.net/activism/action-alerts/2021/school-teacher-speaks-against-pro-trans-policy-gets-put-on-leave/

Forcing people to change pronouns is also a form of sexual harassment because it forces a conversation about sex into the workplace, where it is irrelevant.

If I am at work, I don’t want to be forced to discuss my own sexual preferences, or those of others. It offends my sense of privacy. Further, it has not one thing to do with a person’s contribution to the subject matter at hand, which is “How are we going to make more money?”

The pronoun discussion IS about sex, because people are changing their pronouns due to their own ideas about their own sexual nature, and they are demanding, sometimes quite rudely, the same information from me.

I do not want to know how somebody does sex, and yet there are people demanding that others include their pronouns by their name for Zoom meetings, and acting like “misgendering” is a big deal.

I’ve been misgendered all my working life, because my name, in some cultures, is also masculine. People whose only contact with me was by fax or email, would default to masculine honorific. I usually did not correct them, because it just didn’t matter. I actually heard a younger woman express surprise at this little slice of reality.

I get that young, impressionable women may feel pressured and limited by society. I completely understand that, because it remains true. However, some activist teachers are misleading them by pretending that the perfectly rational desire for a little autonomy is in fact sexual in nature, and this teaching is an outright lie.

It is a lie that’s been around for a while. Sigmund Freud described some of his young, female patients who rebelled against the confines of their upper class victoria society. They wanted more freedom, and he insulted their intelligence by saying they wanted a penis.

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