The Loudoun County School Board has agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting retaliation against a teacher who openly rejected a proposed pro-transgender policy.
After the settlement on Monday, Tanner Cross stated, “Just today, the court issued a final order permanently prohibiting the Loudoun County Public School Board from punishing me for freely expressing my views. I can now confidently continue teaching at Leesburg Elementary School without fear of punishment for expressing my views.”
“…Teachers are just like everyone else – we have ideas and views we should be free to express – and the court has vindicated those rights for me and for all teachers…” -Tanner Cross, ADF Client pic.twitter.com/bdLWtJy6Xe
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) November 15, 2021
The agreement also includes removing any reference of the suspension from Cross’s records and paying $20,000 for his attorneys’ fees.
Cross was suspended from his position as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School after he exerted his First Amendment rights at a school board meeting in May to oppose Policy 8040.
According to Fox News, Policy 8040 would require school staff to refer to students by their preferred pronouns, open activities to students according to their gender identity, allow students access to facilities corresponding to gender identity, and complete training on topics related to LGBTQ+ students.
At the time, Cross said:
“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 immediately retained counsel. A court granted Cross temporary injunctions in June, forcing Loudoun County Public Schools to reinstate him. The school board then promised to appeal the ruling, taking it to the State Supreme course if necessary.
Monday’s settlement, however, means the school board has relinquished its right to take further action against him.
Cross and two other teachers are still challenging Policy 8040 in court. Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright joined Cross’ lawsuit against the school board.
Gill said on Monday, “Freedom of speech and religion includes the freedom not to speak messages contrary to our core beliefs, and public schools shouldn’t require teachers to personally endorse a belief with which they disagree, but that’s exactly what policy 8040 does. It forces teachers to say things that are untrue and harmful to students.”
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