School Board Reverses Suspension of Gym Coach Who Refused to Use ‘Preferred Pronouns’

Physical education teacher Tanner Cross was fired after refusing to call a student by their preferred pronouns. Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom

The Loudoun County school board can not take any further action against Byron “Tanner” Cross, the Leesburg Elementary School gym teacher who was suspended in May for criticizing a newly adopted school district Policy 8040, which requires transgender students to be addressed by their preferred pronouns, and gives students who believe they are the opposite sex access to school facilities, groups, and sports teams of their biological counterparts.

The case between Cross and the school board went all the way to the state supreme court after he was granted reinstatement to his teaching position by a lower court. Monday’s settlement clears the teacher’s record and pays his legal fees, and ensures Cross will not face further punishment from the school board and district superintendents. Fox News reported:

In the settlement, the school board, Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler and interim Assistant Superintendent Lucia Villa Sebastian agreed to remove any reference to Cross’s suspension in his record, to abide by an injunction preventing them from retaliating against Cross for his speech against 8040 and to pay $20,000 in legal fees. The settlement is not an admission of guilt on the part of the defendants.

“Just today, the court issued a final order permanently prohibiting the Loudoun County Public School Board from punishing me for freely expressing my views,” Cross told reporters after the settlement Monday. “I can now confidently continue teaching at Leesburg Elementary School without fear of punishment for expressing my views.”

During his speech to the school board in May, Cross stated, “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.”

The Loudoun County school board has gone to war against parents recently after the school district’s implementation of Critical Race Theory and the coverup of two alleged rapes by a transgender youth in the girl’s bathroom. Parent Scott Smith was arrested June 22, after he spoke at a Loudoun County school board meeting, where he “claimed a boy who was wearing a skirt had entered the girls’ bathroom at the high school and sexually assaulted his ninth-grade daughter.” The boy was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio that day at school.

Patti Hidalgo Menders speaks out against board actions during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Superintendent Ziegler made headlines in July when he told ABC, “If I start making decisions based on what adults want or what adults need, I’ve missed the mark.”

People hold up signs during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our schools?" Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing anti-racism teaching that critics like her say trains white children to see themselves as "oppressors." "Yes!", answered in unison the hundreds of demonstrators gathered this weekend near Washington to fight against "critical race theory," the latest battleground of America's ongoing culture wars. The term "critical race theory" defines a strand of thought that appeared in American law schools in the late 1970s and which looks at racism as a system, enabled by laws and institutions, rather than at the level of individual prejudices. But critics use it as a catch-all phrase that attacks teachers' efforts to confront dark episodes in American history, including slavery and segregation, as well as to tackle racist stereotypes. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

People hold up signs during a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, warned in August that Americans should watch carefully what is going on in Loudoun County. “You’re going to see what the wokest school board in America is doing, so you’ll understand what to look for when your school board starts doing the same thing,” Prior said.

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