Loudoun Schools to Appeal Order Reinstating Suspended Teacher

Loudoun County Public Schools announced Friday it will appeal the June 8 Circuit Court decision ordering the reinstatement of Leesburg Elementary physical education teacher Byron Tanner Cross.

According to the statement, the school division disagrees with Judge James E. Plowman’s decision to issue an injunction in the case. It is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Cross was placed on leave two days after he spoke at a School Board meeting to oppose a draft policy protecting transgender students. He said he opposed the proposed policies based on his religious beliefs, and would not use transgender students’ preferred pronouns.

School administrators said Leesburg Elementary School and the division have experienced significant disruption since that May 25 meeting, with students and parents at Leesburg Elementary expressing “fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school.” 

The proposed policy is intended to comply with new state requirements. In the statement, the school division said addressing concerns of transgender students is paramount its goal to provide a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment for all students. 

“While LCPS respects the rights of public-school employees to free speech and free exercise of religion, those rights do not outweigh the rights of students to be educated in a supportive and nurturing environment,” the statement concluded.

Cross’ attorney, Tyson Langhofer of the Center of Academic Freedom with Alliance Defending Freedom, said he remains optimistic that the courts will rule in Cross’ favor.

“Judge Plowman’s opinion ordering Tanner’s reinstatement was a well-reasoned application of these facts to clear-established law,” said Langhofer.

27 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools to Appeal Order Reinstating Suspended Teacher

  • 2021-06-11 at 2:22 pm

    Let’s review the controlling case law in the Fourth Circuit on this matter. In Durham v Jones, the Fourth Circuit stated “it is not enough that there is some disruption; the amount of disruption has to outweigh the importance of the speech and its concern to the public. See Connick, 461 U.S. at 152; see also McVey, 157 F.3d at 279 (Murnaghan, J., concurring) (“A stronger showing of public interest in the speech requires a concomitantly stronger showing of government-employer interest to overcome it.”).” 737 F.3d 291, 302 (4th Cir 2013)

    The notion that LCPS can fire an employee for speaking out at a public hearing on a matter concern is laughable. It is tantamount to saying that if enough fundamentalist Christian parents create a “disruption” about a radical LCPS teacher who claims she doesn’t believe in God and Christian delusions, then LCPS could fire the radical LCPS teacher for speaking out at public hearings (hello, Andrea Weiskopf). Nobody on the right is advocating that because they actually believe in free speech. But giving the Leftists veto power over anybody who expresses differences of opinion with their secular progressive religion (it is a religion) is not only unconstitutional, but it would precipitate much larger conflicts in our county and in our culture. The courts would never let this happen.

    • 2021-06-11 at 3:19 pm

      That is a great idea. Let us get 6-7 parents to complain about individual, Liberal teachers and have them removed.

      I think I will start a secret Facebook group to coordinate it.

      I am thinking about School Board member Joy Maloney getting arrested for stopping people on school grounds from entering a legal Trump rally. The School Board did nothing when its own member got arrested, but they want to remove a teacher for providing input at a public input session.

      Vote for Republican School Board members to stop this LCPS stupidity.

  • 2021-06-11 at 2:41 pm

    LCPS stop wasting my tax dollars!!! Do not appeal the judges decision. Mr. Cross if you set up a GoFundMe page to pay your legal bills I will gladly donate.

  • 2021-06-11 at 3:00 pm

    Well…. actions speak louder than words apparently. All depends on who you know and who you upset apparently.

    I think the LCPS staff has some explaining to do and so does the school board. Vindictive retaliation is the first sign of tyranny and an oppressive organization that discourages free speech and public comments. Now teachers simply aren’t allowed to provide input to policy. Is that the intention? Inequitable representation and retaliation? I feel sorry for the teachers at Leesburg Elementary. Who is next to be retaliated there?

  • 2021-06-11 at 3:14 pm

    This move to appeal by the county is VERY disturbing, but then again, it should surprise no one.

    We have a radical group of elected officials that are NOT in touch with reality because they are driven by an agenda that disregards common sense and/or the well being of Loudoun youth.

    We are STILL waiting for at least one school board member to apologize for the pornography that is required reading. That apology would then be followed by a motion to immediatlely remove said books and review reading lists.

    This is now being led by our new, unqualified superintendent.

  • 2021-06-11 at 3:26 pm

    While I do not care for Jim Plowman, he was correct in this case. Read his opinion and focus on onbthe LCPS claims of disruption and the time stamps of the emails from 5 or 6 people (one percent or less of the students). Plus, the statements from other teachers’ fears to speak on the same subject.

    Bottom line, more of our tax dollars being wasted on litigation going no where. Remember Dick Black and the library issues 30 years ago, same same.

    • 2021-06-11 at 5:16 pm

      LI has it exactly right. All but one of the ‘complaints’ came after the fact. The school system was scrambling to back fill their bogus claims. It’ll be interesting to see how much of our tax dollars are spent on the high dollar Richmond law firm representing the school system. I smell a FOIA request, unless of course, it’s an exception to an exception to an exception under Virginia’s archaic FOIA law.

  • 2021-06-11 at 4:02 pm

    It appears that LCPS never learned the First Rule of Holes: when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. A few parents sending emails saying they don’t feel ‘comfortable’ with Cross in school is the result of our ‘safe spaces’ and snowflake culture. With all the lawsuits this school system is facing, one would hope they would take a step back and look at this in a more rational way. But it’s clear the school board thinks they know what is best for your child better than you do, so my prediction is they will start labeling parents who support Cross (and are against CRT, many of whom are the same people) as unfit parents and start reporting them to Child Protective Services.

    Think they won’t do it? There are parents in this county who have reported LCPS using that very tactic to try and silence them. It appears that the only people who think that doxxing, bullying, online shaming, and the attempted silencing of those who disagree with them are all leftists. So much for democracy. I doubt any of them even know about the Chinese Cultural Revolution…because they were never taught in school about the true evils of totalitarianism. Well, one thing I can say is that I will certainly pay more attention to school board elections from now on…and support the recall effort currently underway to remove six members of the School Board.

  • 2021-06-11 at 4:20 pm

    Wake up teachers. It’s this guy today. Tomorrow, it could be your Constitutional Rights being trashed in the name of the leftist hate cult.

  • 2021-06-11 at 4:59 pm

    Teachers have incredible power over students and when a teacher threatens to disobey upcoming policy to abuse transgendered students in the name of his religion, that is a threat to the safety and religious freedom of the students. Teachers have a right to express their opinion but not a right to keep their job after declaring that they will refuse to follow policy. I don’t think the school needs to wait for the teacher to actually carry out the threat before firing him.

    • 2021-06-11 at 5:45 pm

      EdMyers – When and where did the teacher threaten to “abuse” a student? What “policy” has he violated? The answer is that he did not, and has not.

      I am certainly glad you and your stormtrooper mentality are not in charge.

      • 2021-06-11 at 6:21 pm

        It is bullying and harassment when one uses the wrong pronoun to demean another person. My job prohibits intentionally addressing someone by the wrong gender because it causes a hostile work environment. When a similar policy is adopted by LCPS, this teacher has threatened to violate it. Have you no concern for the children currently victimized by this teacher imposing his religion on the students?

        • 2021-06-11 at 9:09 pm

          Ed, nobody believes you are serious or honest. These issues have gone through the courts. The parties agree to an accommodation such as using last names. The kids are never called by a pronoun that offends them. Yet, you cannot accept that calling a boy by a girl’s pronoun could be harmful to the child (70% of who grow out of gender dysphoria by 18) or violates the teacher’s beliefs. Just admit it. You want your religion – secular progressivism – forced on all others, right?

          You know, if we had vouchers to use as we see fit (a la Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or every other medical program), this would not be an issue. The progressives could send their kids to schools where they called them oppressors everyday. And the normals could send their kids where teachers called boys boys and girls girls.

        • 2021-06-11 at 9:16 pm

          EdMyers, I have more concern for the elementary school kids whose parents and teachers allow them to decide what gender they want to be at age 11 and under. Kids change their minds more often than they change their socks at that age, and forcing a kid to be identified by some made up pronoun is doing more damage to kids than a teacher who refuses to play along with the nonsense. Right now, these wild, out of control parents and teachers are forcing these kids to live with a choice they would more than likely reconsider a few days or weeks later and we wonder why the suicide rate among young people, especially “transgender” young people is so much higher than any other group.

        • 2021-06-11 at 11:54 pm

          I assume this depends on what you call the “wrong” pronoun. What you do at your job is your concern. You are an adult, you can choose to work somewhere else. But those are kids. They are not supposed to become toys for liberal adults to impose their twisted ideas regarding what “gender” should be. No kid should have to be submitted to adult views on transgenderism, they are kids! I agree religion should be left out of this, but so should sexuality. And when a kid is unfortunately twisted into an inappropriate behavior, he or she needs guidance, not encouragement. What’s next? Little Tommy showing up in a thong at school and no teacher is supposed to tell “her” because it hurts “her” feelings? It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

        • 2021-06-12 at 3:23 am

          Ed – To begin you would have to establish that it was the teachers intent to demean the student. Next if you work in the private sector your example is irrelevant.

          Finally the policy hasn’t been approved yet. Following your logic if DOT is considering making the speed limit on I-66 only 35 MPH and had an open comments session on the issue, if I say I will never drive slower than 50 MPH I should leave the session with a hand full of speeding tickets.

    • 2021-06-11 at 8:04 pm


      And how dare he say this violates his religion. His religion says nothing about transgendered children or preferred pronouns. And Jesus would stand with those children in opposition to him. That’s the most offensive thing about this.

      It makes him uncomfortable. That’s it. It doesn’t directly AFFECT him, yet he wants to lash out because it’s something he doesn’t understand or wants to take the time to understand. This man should not be teaching children. Period.

  • 2021-06-11 at 5:58 pm

    Mr. Ziegler and the school board somehow think they can compel speech. Recent court cases indicate otherwise. It’s time to recall the current board and fire Mr. Ziegler who is deeply involved in implementing CRT in schools. It’s time to have schools educate rather than indoctrinate. Take your children out of public schools and save yourself a tremendous amount of grief.

  • 2021-06-12 at 5:28 am

    A SPECTACULAR waste of our tax dollars! Shouldn’t this money be spent on education?! They are not on our side…

  • 2021-06-12 at 9:29 am

    I think the comments section should be retitled, “old cranky white guys shouting…”

    • 2021-06-12 at 3:24 pm

      When I watch the protests and the school meetings I see a broad spectrum of people.

      Assumptions are bad. Mmkay?

    • 2021-06-14 at 9:49 am

      When you have no argument, resort to name calling. Especially in racial terms. It’s all hustlers have.

  • 2021-06-12 at 6:26 pm

    Are you using a second-person plural pronoun to describe all of us?

  • 2021-06-13 at 9:38 am

    Gaslight, how about cranky old white guys pulling out the only act they’ve got left- justify your actions by wrapping yourself in our flag and hiding behind baby Jesus?

    I read through these threads and I think back to all the Christian fundamentalist meddling that’s gone on in LoCo through the years- Dick Black spending hundreds of thousand of dollars of Loudoun County taxpayers dollars trying to keep R movies out of libraries…., I think back to all the BS the various boards have put up with through the years….. The School Board, the Library Board, the BOS…. we should pay these people more money (the library board doesn’t even get paid!)

    • 2021-06-14 at 9:52 am

      AFF’s world view:

      Government = Ovelord’s; Masters.

      The People = Serfs; Slaves.

      • 2021-06-15 at 1:13 pm

        Master is the prefix used on letters that came addressed to me when I was a kid but I have no idea what an ovelord is.

        Besides, most of the serfs…. I mean sharecroppers left Loco years ago. I don’t think they could afford to live here anymore

  • 2021-06-13 at 8:07 pm

    The more LCPS persists, the more of a hero this martyr will be when it’s all over. I commend him for putting his career on the line to ultimately fight for the 1st amendment. I hope he turns this into a new career teaching civics, a class the school board should audit.

    My hat is off to you Mr. Cross. I know we will all be in a slightly safer space when this charade concludes.

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