A gym teacher who was suspended for refusing to use students preferred pronouns has been reinstated. He made the refusal due to his Christian beliefs.
Tanner Cross was suspended from his post teaching physical education at Leesburg Elementary School in Loudon County, Virg. last week after he told the school board that they could not force him to tell to tell students that biological sex was a mutable human condition.
He was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which posted a statement reading: "Tanner Cross, a Virginia elementary school teacher and ADF client who was suspended for raising concerns to the board about a proposed gender policy, has won a temporary injunction and the judge has ordered his reinstatement. A massive victory for freedom of speech." This according to local news.
ADF President and CEO Michael Farris said that "Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy. For that reason, we are pleased at the court's decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools' retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues."
"Educators are just like everybody else—they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express," Farris continued. "Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs. School officials singled out his speech, offered in his private capacity at a public meeting, as ‘disruptive’ and then suspended him for speaking his mind. That’s neither legal nor constitutional. Dozens of other teachers have shared their beliefs on various policies without retaliation; Tanner deserves to be treated with the same respect."
Cross had spoken to Fox News' Primetime's Ben Domenech about what happened, saying that he was thinking about students and teachers who were afraid to express how they truly feel. He said he invested his life in teaching and giving back to the community.
"It started with students, it will always be about students." He continued that it was about all Americans, students and teachers alike, to speak freely. He said that he had received praise from students and parents at his school, as well as from people all over the country.
Cross' speech was met with an email from the school's principal Shawn Lacey, that read: "I'm contacting you to let you know that one of our physical education teachers, Tanner Cross, is on leave beginning this morning. In his absence, his duties will be covered by substitute staff already working in our building."
Cross said in his speech "I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria," and referenced a segment from 60 Minutes that dealt with detransitioners, or those who undergo gender transition, and then find themselves having to reverse the process, but are left with permanent, irreversible changes to their bodies.
"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," Cross said.
"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," he said. "It's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God."