Trial Date for Loudoun Teacher Who Said He Wouldn’t Affirm Transgender Students

Hayley Milon Bour

hbour@loudounnow.com

The Loudoun County Circuit Court has set a Sept. 7 start to the case involving the Leesburg Elementary School PE teacher who was removed from his post after saying he does not support the district’s proposed protections for transgender students.

Byron “Tanner” Cross was placed on paid administrative leave days after he told the School Board during a meeting in May that he did not support the district’s proposed protections for transgender students. Policy 8040, which provides protections and accommodations for transgender and gender expansive students, is meant to comply with the Virginia mandate that all school districts implement such safeguards for students before the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

“I love all my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. 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 is against my religion, it’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it is sinning against our God,” Cross said during the May 25 meeting.

After several parents of Cross’ students complained to the district, he was placed on leave May 27.

His legal team, from the Alliance Defending Freedom, sued for his reinstatement to his teaching position. Circuit Court Judge James E. Plowman granted his reinstatement, ruling that Cross’ First Amendment rights had been violated.

The school division filed an appeal, arguing that Plowman’s decision failed to acknowledge the district’s responsibility to protect students superseded Cross’ right to free speech.

“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 district said in a statement.

In a brief filed in response to the district’s appeal, Cross’ attorney Tyson Langhofer asserted that Plowman was correct in his original ruling to reinstate Cross.

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

There is still not a hearing date set for the district’s appeal of the injunction from the state Supreme Court.

10 thoughts on “Trial Date for Loudoun Teacher Who Said He Wouldn’t Affirm Transgender Students

  • 2021-07-28 at 6:34 pm
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    All the radical LGBTQ cult activists can rest assured Tanner Cross will be teaching our kids from the start of the school year. Take solace. Someone that is actually kind and concerned about kids is teaching them.

    • 2021-07-30 at 10:50 am
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      He has committed to bullying and insulting transgender children. The weird rights obsession with hate is dangerous to children. Several of the outside groups driving this effort have been defined as hate groups by the SPLC. Which means they are willing to lie and distort facts to further their hate agenda.

      Yah, I support the LGBT agenda. Leave us alone.

      • 2021-07-30 at 11:35 pm
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        The Alliance Defending Freedom is classified as a hate group by the SPLC. As to the freedom of speech argument, 1 He works for the schools. And 2 could he call a black kid the N word?

  • 2021-07-28 at 8:20 pm
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    At least two courts have already ruled that the state cannot compel speech even in schools. The county is wasting yet more taxpayer money on a pointless appeal in their vindictive effort to intimidate and silence critics.

    It’s time to get rid of the school board and most of the county board. Sign those petitions and remember that these people want to silence your voice by any means necessary.

  • 2021-07-29 at 10:22 am
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    Just curious — so much is being done legally regarding the teacher that spoke about his concerns about gender dysphoria, but what about the professional development that VDOE acknowledges is lacking in public education to best support transgender students?

    Why no mention of that? What is the status of professional development so school counselors and staff can best understand how to meet their LGBTQ students needs? How can he be punished for not receiving training the school system should have provided? I believe Dr. Jones had mentioned that training was provided to PE teachers — did that include elementary PE teachers or only secondary school PE teachers where children change their clothing?

    There are a LOT of questions educators have on this and now they learned to not ask them. My question is this — how does it help the kids to avoid the topic of professional development of a sensitive topic many don’t feel comfortable talking about (everyone has a story). When can it be about staff sharing what THEY need to succeed instead of being suppressed into silence and afraid to talk for fear of retaliation. There obviously needs to be more educator involvement in policy making and perhaps this is something LCPS needs to learn more about. Excluding educators from being involved in creating the policies they are required to enforce leads to resentment and retaliation.

    Perhaps more teachers need to be at the table instead of countless administrators on power trips. Just a thought — admin doesn’t teach, teachers teach. LCPS needs to start listening to their teachers because teaching is purpose driven. And teachers need to be included in the discussions, especially if there is a conflict of faith and a concern on how to implement things. Changes aren’t easy, but being done top down will always end poorly. Perhaps LCPS needs to get off its high horse and start bottom up and respecting the teachers that do a job most wouldn’t even consider doing nowadays. Especially since punishing teachers is more common than rewarding them (except for the challenge coin they received of course. 😉

    As a reminder — this discomfort is felt throughout the nation and not limited to one community. I don’t understand what the objective is besides terrifying teachers into submission based on a partisan agenda. Mutual respect goes a long way and I think he was trying to be respectful and was confused as well. Employee Assistance Program is supposed to help in situations like that. Where is the focus on employee needs in an ever changing environment during a pandemic? Partisan politics create a hostile teaching environment and this lawsuit is proof of that. Find common ground and meet in the middle. Stop the retaliation and start listening LCPS. The nation is watching, including my aunt from the west coast. The WTF? syndrome is strong here. Everyone’s rights should matter. But I am noticing an alarming pattern — an hierarchy of influence and some needs are being better protected than others….. WHY?

    • 2021-07-30 at 10:56 am
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      Being an LGBT kid is pretty scary. They face bullying and hatred. Sometimes at school, and sometimes at home. They are a vulnerable group.

      That’s why. I’m sorry, is that so hard to get? Are football players a vulnerable group? Kicked out by parents for their love of football? No. Trans kids? Yes. Gay kids? Yes. The pressure on these kids causes suicide. When they are accepted and treated well, they survive.

      The rights agenda hurts kids and drives the m to suicide. Own it.

  • 2021-07-29 at 10:23 am
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    FYI — many parents have complained about partisan politics in LCPS on the school board. Is anything changing? Or is it still all or nothing?

  • 2021-07-30 at 5:11 am
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    The only confusion lies with the gender dystopia crowd. Maybe those who advocate for the LGBTQ nonsense need professional development and kindly leave your junk at the door.

    • 2021-07-30 at 10:57 am
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      There ya go, some nice ignorant hate to start the day.

  • 2021-07-30 at 12:16 pm
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    Sign the petition and recall School Board members.

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