Teacher who refused to use transgender pronouns must be reinstated, judge rules

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(WTVO) — A judge has granted an injunction to reinstate a Virginia school teacher who was suspended after he said he wouldn’t address transgender students by their chosen pronouns.

Physical education teacher Tanner Cross was suspended after he objected to a proposed school board policy on how to address transgender students, telling the Loudoun County School Board that the policy would be “abuse of a child.”

“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” Cross said. “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 school board put Cross on administrative leave, on the grounds that he had engaged in conduct that had disrupted the school’s operations, saying they feared backlash from parents.

Cross countered by filed a lawsuit claiming the board’s actions violated his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion.

A circuit court judge issued an emergency injunction on Friday to have Cross reinstated. Judge Jim Plowman said he expected to would make a ruling on Monday.

“Last Tuesday, I went to school board meeting and respectfully objected to two proposed policies,” Cross said after Friday’s hearing, according to WVIT. “When I spoke, I was thinking about my values, my students, my parents and my fellow teachers. The truth is I’m not alone. Many of us are concerned that proposed policies would harm students and require us to violate our beliefs by saying things that are not true.”

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