Byron Tanner Cross Loudon County Virginia PE teacher placed on leave refusing to affirm transgender kids against biological birth cause it goes against his Christian beliefs.
Does a teacher have the right to stand by their religious beliefs even if doing so goes against nominated school policy, even policy that many in secular day to day would also challenge and question?
The decision not to affirm trans children as their preferred gender pronoun comes as Byron Tanner Cross gave a speech at the Loudoun County school board meeting on Tuesday in which he stated his position on the ‘controversial’ matter.
The physical education teacher highlighted two policies that the public school board have put in place; one which forces teachers to use the pronouns a transgender child identified with, and one which allows transgender kids to take part in sports in the group of the gender they identify with.
Cross said that the policies ‘defile the holy image of God’ and constitute child abuse.
Judge orders Loudon Virginia teacher be reinstated after refusing to teach biological boys who compete as girls
‘a biological boy can not be a girl and vice versa’
‘My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria.
’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 de-transitioning.
‘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,’ he said in video posted on YouTube.
School policy compelling teachers to to ascribe a student’s preferred gender identity
Following the meeting, Shawn Lacey, principal of Leesburg Elementary, sent an email to parents saying Cross had been put on leave, Fox News reported.
It’s unclear how long the leave will last.
‘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,’ he said.
According to LCPS documents, policy 8040 specifies that, ‘School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, 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 are appropriate.’
It adds: ‘Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy.’
Policy 8350 states: ‘LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive and transgender students to 37 participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity.’
Denying educator’s free speech while in the service of their employer
The local reaction to the school’s decision has been mixed.
Loudon County, with a population of 400,000 people, has become a microcosm of the issues that are currently dividing America – critical race theory, transgender rights, gay rights and free speech.
Parents there have been up in arms recently about recent school board decisions to promote diversity and, in the parents’ view, dampen free speech and do-away with tradition.
They say that anytime they speak out about anything, the school board tries to ‘cancel’ them.
Many parents are praising Tanner as a hero and say he was exercising his first amendment rights, raising the question to what point should educators be allowed to exercise their rights to free speech while in employment of a school whose policy they are paid to follow?
Others have responding, saying Tanner is transphobic, that his views are harmful to kids and shouldn’t be allowed to teach.
Tanner’s wife, Angela Cross has since taken to Facebook to thank people for their support. She said her husband was sorry he didn’t get to say goodbye to his students.
Ian Prior, spokesman for Unsilenced Majority, an organization set up to reverse cancel culture and defend free speech, told the dailymail: ‘It is shameful what Loudoun County Public Schools did to this teacher for expressing his beliefs to the school board.
‘He was exercising his First Amendment rights of free speech and to petition the government and this action against him is a clear message from Loudoun County Public Schools that it does not welcome different viewpoints and is not inclusive for those that exercise their constitutional rights.’