Kendall Tietz, DCNF
The Loudoun County school board agreed to a settlement in a Virginia Circuit Court Monday with a teacher who was suspended from his job for expressing disagreement with the district’s transgender policy.
The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) school board settled with Tanner Cross, who filed a lawsuit that alleged the school board retaliated against him when it suspended him after he expressed his opinion on the district’s Policy 8040.
The district’s policy requires teachers to call students by their “chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence” and allows transgender students to participate in sports and use bathrooms that correspond to their chosen gender identity.
On June 8, the Loudoun County Circuit Court ruled that LCPS had to reinstate Cross, which the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed on Aug. 30 and Monday’s settlement makes permanent. LCPS will also remove any reference of suspension from Cross’ personnel file and pay $20,000 toward his legal fees, according to the settlement.
Cross said LCPS suspended him from his job as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School over his opposition to the policy, which he made clear during the public comment portion of a May school board meeting.
Cross, along with two other LCPS teachers in the lawsuit, Monica Gill and Kim Wright, argued the transgender policy “forces teachers to violate their beliefs by requiring them to address ‘transgender and gender-expansive’ students by their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex,” according to press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, which is legally representing the teachers in court.
BREAKING: the Court issued a permanent order that prohibits @LCPSOfficial from punishing Tanner Cross for expressing his views about the gender identity policy. The is a win for all teachers who should be free to advocate for their students. #TeachFreeSpeech
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) November 15, 2021
The judge also heard other arguments in the part of the Cross v. Loudoun County School Board case involving Wright and Gill. The teachers are asking for a preliminary injunction against Policy 8040 to halt its enforcement while the case continues, which the judge is expected to rule on after Thanksgiving, ADF told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It is not the job of government to mandate care or mandate individual speech,” Gill said during a Monday press conference outside the courthouse. “In reality, they are not protecting our students, they are pushing a radical gender ideology and allowing kids to be victims of their social experiment.”