By Cassandra Fairbanks
A Virginia school district is appealing a judge’s decision to reinstate a gym teacher who was suspended for refusing to comply with their gender pronoun policy.
Loudoun County Public Schools said that they will appeal Circuit Court Judge Jim Plowman Jr.’s decision to reinstate Leesburg Elementary physical education teacher Tanner Cross.
Cross was suspended after speaking at a school board meeting in May about his opposition to the district’s policy. He said that he refused to “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa,” due to his religious beliefs. He also stated that he believes using trans pronouns for children amounts to “abuse.” He was suspended two days after the meeting.
The district’s policy states that children must be allowed to use “their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence.” They claim that this is to provide a “safe and inclusive learning environment” for students.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a nonprofit legal organization that is representing Cross, told NBC that “there is no reason” for Virginia’s Supreme Court to hear the appeal.
“Public schools have no right to suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting,” said senior attorney Tyson Langhofer in a statement. “The school district wants to force Tanner to endorse its ideals and shut down any opposing views. That violates the Constitution and laws of Virginia, and so did the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”
Judge Plowman had determined in June that Cross was exercising his free speech and ordered the school to reinstate him “immediately.”
Fox News reports that at “a fiery board meeting on June 22, numerous residents spoke out in defense of Cross during the public comment portion and urged district officials to stop fighting him in court – calling it a waste of taxpayer money and arguing that their effort is doomed to fail.” Former state Sen. Dick Black also spoke at the meeting in Tanner’s defense.
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