After an elementary school teacher in Loudoun County was suspended for voicing his opposition to using students’ preferred gender pronouns at a school board meeting, his case might be headed to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Tyson Langhofer, an attorney for Byron Tanner Cross who is an elementary physical education teacher in the district, has filed a brief with the state’s highest Court asking it not to hear Loudoun County’s appeal on the issue.
The county filed its appeal after a trial court reinstated Cross because “his comments to the school board in May on a proposed policy on using a student’s preferred pronouns was made in a public meeting,” which gives him First Amendment protections, according to WTOP.
Langhofer argues in his brief that the trial court was correct in its ruling, and that Loudon County was not able to identify a “legal error in the [trial court’s] decision.”
“The lower court’s decision ordering Tanner’s reinstatement was a well-reasoned application of these facts to clearly established law, so there is no reason for the Virginia Supreme Court to take this appeal,” Langhofer reportedly said.
The controversy stems from Cross’ statements during an open forum at a May school board meeting, where he told the board that adhering to students’ gender pronouns violates his conscience as a Christian.
“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” Cross reportedly said at the meeting. “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.”
The county claimed that it disciplined Cross not for his religious beliefs, but for being “disruptive” at the meeting
Loudoun County Circuit Judge James Plowman ruled against them, calling their response to his comments “extreme” and “vindictive.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia Supreme Court Building” by Morgan Riley. CC BY 3.0.