In a major lawsuit victory on Monday in Loudoun County, Virginia, a court issued a final order permanently prohibiting the Loudoun County Public School Board from punishing elementary school teacher Tanner Cross for speaking out against pro-transgender Policy 8040.
Policy 8040 requires school staff to refer to students by their preferred pronouns, allows students access to facilities corresponding to gender identity, and also allows students to participate in activities according to how they gender identify. Policy 840 also requires that all faculty complete training on topics related to LGBTQ+ students.
Tanner Cross was suspended in May for speaking out against 8040 at a school board meeting and refusing to comply with a policy that went against his religion.
“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 said.
In the settlement, the school board 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.
“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, and they certainly shouldn’t be silenced from commenting at public meetings,” Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm representing Cross, said in a statement on the settlement.
Loudoun County Public Schools attempted to challenge the order but was rejected by the Virginia Supreme Court.