Loudoun County Public Schools to Appeal Reinstatement of Teacher Who Opposes Transgender Policy

By Elisabeth Nieshalla | June 14, 2021 | 4:20pm EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- Since the Circuit Court for the County of Loudoun, Va., ruled on June 8 to reinstate Tanner Cross to his teaching position -- after Loudoun County Public Schools suspended him for speaking out against a transgender policy -- the LCPS has appealed the case to the Virginia Supreme Court.

“Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will file an appeal of a June 8 decision in Loudoun County Circuit Court regarding the reinstatement of Leesburg Elementary physical education teacher Byron Tanner Cross,” the LSPS said in a June 11 statement on their website.

(Screenshot, LCPS.org)
(Screenshot, LCPS.org)

The statement reads:  “LCPS respectfully disagrees with the Circuit Court’s decision to issue the injunction, and it is appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court of Virginia. Leesburg Elementary School and Loudoun County Public Schools experienced – and continue to experience – significant disruption since the May 25 School Board meeting during which Cross addressed the board. Many students and parents at Leesburg Elementary have expressed fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school.

“Addressing those concerns is paramount to the school division’s 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.”

LCPS has not commented further on their decision to appeal.

Byron Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher at the Leesburg Elementary School.  (Screenshot)
Byron Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher at the Leesburg Elementary School. (Screenshot)

Judge James E. Plowman of the Circuit Court of the County of Loudoun ruled in favor of physical education elementary school teacher Tanner Cross on June 8, stating that Tanner’s "interest in expressing his First Amendment speech outweigh the Defendant's interest in restricting the same and the level of disruption that Defendant asserts did not serve to meaningfully disrupt the operations or services of Leesburg Elementary School.” 

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Cross, and Senior Counsel and Director of the Center for Academic Freedom Tyson Langhofer is confident that "if the Virginia Supreme Court hears the appeal, it will affirm the circuit court’s decision."

Scott A. Ziegler, Ph.D., superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools. (Screenshot, lcps.org)
Scott A. Ziegler, Ph.D., superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools. (Screenshot, lcps.org)

Cross was placed on administrative leave after expressing his concerns at a school board meeting that a transgender policy under consideration violated his religious beliefs and was harmful to children.

“I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion,” Cross stated during the public comments portion of the meeting. “It’s lying to a child. It’s abuse to a child. And it’s sinning against our God.”

Two days later, Cross was suspended based on the claim that he caused “significant disruption” at the school, “including multiple complaints and parents requesting that Mr. Cross have no interaction with their children because of his comments,” according to a LCPS representative.

Cross’ temporary injunction will be in place until Dec. 31, at which point it will dissolve unless a higher court rules to enlarge it.

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