Byron “Tanner” Cross, a physical education teacher, won an initial battle with Loudon County Public Schools (LCPS), which released him after a controversial speech condemning the proposed gender policy.
In a letter Tuesday, 12th District Judge James E. Paulman ordered the LCPS to restore Cross’s position as a physical education teacher at a primary school in Lisburg. The interim order will allow Cross to keep his job until December 31, after which the order will be terminated, unless other orders are made.
The plowman claims that Cross is likely to succeed if his case is brought to court, that the school district has adversely affected his rights to the First Amendment and that the restoration of his work is in the “public interest”
Cross caused a stir last month when he told the LCPS school board that he would not “confirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion.” Lying to a child, abusing a child and sinning against our God. “
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Just days after that speech, Cross was told in a letter not to come to the school premises. The letter vaguely states that the school district is investigating “allegations that you participated in conduct that had a devastating effect on its school’s operations.”
Orach’s letter rejects the school district’s argument that it stopped Cross not because of his speech, but because of the interruption he created.
“[T]The court found … that the disorder he was referring to was insufficient, “he wrote, adding that Cross’s speech and religious content were” essential “to the LCPS’s decision.
The plowman also argued that “Cross’s interest in expressing his speech in the First Amendment outweighed the defendant’s interest in limiting it, and the level of interruption alleged by the defendant did not significantly impair the work or services of the Lisburg primary school.”
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LCPS declined to comment. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious freedom firm representing Cross, praised the decision.
“No one should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites to comment on that policy,” said ADF President and CEO Michael Faris.
“For this reason, we are pleased with the court’s decision to suspend the retribution of public schools in Loudon County while his case continues. Educators are just like everyone else – they have ideas and opinions that they need to be able to express. , they should not cost them their jobs. “
The plowman also believes that Cross’s comments are private and constitutionally protected speech.
Cross had referred to the draft policy 8040which required Loudoun staff to use preferred pronouns.
“LCPS staff must allow students who expand gender or transgender people to use their chosen name and pronouns that reflect their gender identity, without any substantiated evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s continuing education file.” , it says.
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“At the request of a student or parent / legal guardian, school staff, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns is appropriate. Involuntary slips may occur when using names or pronouns; however, employees or students who intentionally and stubbornly refuse to respect the student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and pronoun violate this policy. “
Another proposed policy, 8350, states that LCPS staff will “allow students who expand gender and transgender people to participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity.”