The Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s reinstatement of a Loudoun County teacher who refused for religious reasons to follow the school district’s policy of addressing students by their preferred gender pronouns rather than the ones assigned at birth.
Physical education teacher Tanner Cross addressed the school board in May and told them his Christian beliefs prevented him from following their policy, which he felt misleads children into thinking they can choose a different gender identity from how they were created.
Cross was then put on leave by the board, who also banned him from school property and said he was no longer allowed to address the board.
“Cross was opposing a policy that might burden his freedoms of expression and religion by requiring him to speak and interact with students in a way that affirms gender transition,” the justices wrote in the Supreme Court ruling. “Although the [Loudoun school] Board may have considered Cross’ speech to be ‘a trifling and annoying instance of individual distasteful abuse of a privilege,’ we believe Cross has a strong claim to the view that his public dissent implicates ‘fundamental societal values’ deeply embedded in our Constitutional Republic.”
Because of the ruling, Cross will get to continue teaching while his lawsuit against the district proceeds.
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