Tanner Cross, an elementary school P.E. teacher in Loudoun County, was placed on administrative leave last month after daring to speak publicly of his faith and his opposition to a school policy.
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” he stated during a meeting of the local school board (pictured). “We condemn school policies like AD40 and AD35 because it will damage children [and] defile the holy image of God.”
The two policies would require teachers to use a child’s preferred pronouns instead of the one that corresponds to their biological sex, in some cases without parental notification or consent.
“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” Cross continued. “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.”
Today, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ruled that Cross’s constitutional rights were violated when he was suspended.
Tyson Langhofer is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the educator. He says no teacher should be punished for simply advocating for the good of their students in a public setting.
“So every teacher should be cheering this decision,” Langhofer told Fox News earlier today, “because school boards have no right to punish teachers simply for speaking at a public forum on a policy that’s being considered by the board.”
According to the attorney, Cross even went to work the next day after making his comments, and there were no problems. “Yet they still suspended him,” says Langhofer. “That’s unconstitutional and that shouldn’t happen.”
ADF contends that with this ruling, the clear message from the court to the school board is “you are not above the law.” And just like everyone else, says the legal group, teachers have First Amendment rights to express their views.
“Loudoun County Public Schools must respect that,” says an ADF press release. “In fact, as public officials, those on the school board have a duty to respect that.”