Judge reinstates Leesburg teacher who opposed school transgender policies: “The decision was unnecessary and vindictive”
A judge has decided to reinstate the Christian teacher from a Leesburg elementary school who was suspended after voicing his opposition to the board’s transgender policies.
How did it happen?
Judge James E. Plowman Jr. decided on Tuesday to grant Tanner Cross a temporary injunction. The judge has also ordered that the teacher be immediately reinstated by Loudoun County Public Schools, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm who took on legal representation for the teacher.
The district’s move to suspend Cross was deemed “unnecessary and vindictive,” as The Blaze reports.
Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, filed the lawsuit against the district last week after he was barred from school property and placed on administrative leave because of a speech he gave during a school board meeting.
In his speech the teacher said his Christian faith wouldn’t allow him to “lie” to his students and tell them that “a boy can be a girl and vice versa.”
The school policies require all staff to use the students’ preferred gender pronouns and allow them to take part in activities consistent with their gender identity.
The Alliance Defending Freedom has called the court ruling a “massive victory for free speech” in a social media post.
“Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy. For that reason, we are pleased at the court's decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools' retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues. Educators are just like everybody else, they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express,” Michael Farris, ADF founder and CEO, stated.
The school district tried to argue that Cross hadn’t been suspended because of his speech, but rather because it had supposedly caused a disruption.
After investigating the matter, the court found little evidence to support that claim, since only six parents had called to express any grievance.
Also, the court ruled that the teacher’s speech was constitutionally protected because he was “speaking as a citizen, not in his official capacity and during non-working hours at a forum where public comment was invited.”
“It is further apparent that the subject matter upon which the Plaintiff spoke can only be described as a matter of public concern,” the judge concluded about the Leesburg incident.