The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board agreed to a settlement of the original claims teacher Tanner Cross made in his lawsuit against the board. The agreement includes a permanent injunction barring the board from retaliating against Cross for speaking against the school’s transgender policy. The school will also pay $20,000 for Cross’ legal fees, and remove any reference to Cross’ suspension from his personnel file. The rest of the lawsuit to block enforcement of the transgender policy is still going forward.
The initial lawsuit was triggered after the school placed Cross on leave following comments at a May 27 school board meeting. He opposed a proposal that would require staff to use students’ preferred pronouns. In a preliminary injunction, Cross was allowed to return to work. On November 15, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cross, announced the settlement of claims in that initial lawsuit.
Loudoun County teachers Tanner Cross, Monica Gill, and Kimberly Wright spoke at a rally before the Loudoun County School Board meeting Tuesday evening. They are suing the school district over its transgender policy 8040 that includes a requirement that teachers use students’ preferred pronouns. Previously, the lawsuit focused on Cross’ termination after he spoke out at a school board meeting; an injunction in that case forced the district to allow him to return to work.
“I cannot thank this community enough for you support and unwavering dedication to stand alongside me in the fight to speak freely in a continued effort to protect our students and our children from harmful ideologies,” Cross said at the rally. “Now, the battle turns to policy 8040 itself.”
The Loudoun County school board voted on a revised professional conduct policy to specifically mention “Protected Speech” and the First Amendment rights of employees.
The new policy is a response to Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teacher Tanner Cross who went viral for his comments at a school board meeting in May, where he spoke out against the district’s gender policy and was put on administrative leave shortly afterward. On Aug. 30 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled to reinstate him, calling his removal “likely unconstitutional.”
Two more teachers will join Tanner Cross’ lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board. On Thursday, the Loudoun Circuit Court approved a motion to amend the case, which adds Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright to the case.
The amended complaint also shifts focus to a requirement in the new transgender policy that teachers use students preferred pronouns; the original complaint focused on the district firing Cross after he spoke out at a school board meeting.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is shifting focus in its Cross v. Loudoun County School Board lawsuit after the board approved a transgender policy last week. On Monday, the ADF filed a request to amend their complaint with the court. The new complaint adds two more Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teachers and focuses on a provision that requires all faculty and students to use a students preferred pronouns.
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a press release, “Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and is compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job. Freedom — of speech and religious exercise—includes the freedom not to speak messages against our core beliefs.”