A Virginia school district that punished a Christian teacher for expressing his disagreement with a policy to require teachers to use the preferred pronouns of trans-identified students has agreed to lift the teacher’s suspension as part of a settlement.
Byron Tanner Cross sued Loudon County Public Schools after he was suspended in May following a speech at a school board meeting in which he said that he could not in good conscience use the chosen pronouns of his students.
In a settlement reached last week, school officials agreed to remove the suspension from his record in return for Cross dropping the lawsuit against the school board.
Additionally, the school district agreed to send the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Cross, $20,000 in attorneys’ fees within 14 days of the settlement being reached.
In a statement, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said that more litigation was still needed to challenge Loudon County’s gender identity anti-discrimination policy.
“While we are very pleased that Tanner will be able to keep serving his students in light of this settlement, the concerns expressed in our ongoing lawsuit challenging the district’s policy remain,” stated Langhofer.
“Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job. Freedom—of speech and religious exercise—includes the freedom not to speak messages against our core beliefs.”
A teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, Cross was put on administrative leave in May after he expressed opposition to a proposed policy that has since passed requires teachers to use the preferred pronouns of students instead of pronouns that reflect their biological sex.
“My name is Tanner Cross, and I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria,” said Cross at the meeting. “I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences.” full story