School board settles with teacher who opposed pronoun rules

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
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Location: Long Island, New York

17 Nov 2021, 9:46 am

The Hill

The Loudoun County school system agreed to reinstate a teacher who sued the school board for a policy requiring staff to call transgender students by their preferred pronouns.

Tanner Cross, a Leesburg Elementary gym teacher who was suspended after his objections to the new policy, will also collect $20,000 in compensation for legal fees from Loudoun County and have the suspension removed from his record.

Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel at the Alliance for Defending Freedom, an organization representing Cross in court, said "essentially we obtained all the relief that Tanner was requesting."

"The Virginia constitution is very clear that the government cannot punish teachers for expressing their views on topics of public concern. And it's very clear also the government cannot compel people to speak messages they disagree with," Langhofer told The Hill.

Cross objected to the policy at a school board meeting last spring and was put on administrative leave within 48 hours of his protest to the new pronoun rule, which school officials introduced to create more equity for transgender students.

Cross said the rule went against his religious beliefs, and that since he was fired for raising concerns, also alleged that the school violated his first amendment rights.

Cross sued in June and won the right to be reinstated by a local court. The decision was upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court, which ordered his reinstatement on Nov. 15.

Loudoun4All, a group working to create more equity for transgender students in the Virginia county, said in a statement to The Hill they hope Cross will respect his students.

ADF, along with Cross and two other Loudoun County teachers, are continuing with their lawsuit over the transgender policy, called Policy 8040. The new policy, adopted on Aug. 11, also allows transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Langhofer, however, is focused only on changing the pronoun piece of the policy to "include an accommodation for teachers that don't want to be forced to use pronouns for students that are inconsistent with their biological sex," on freedom of speech and religious grounds.

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Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
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22 Jan 2022, 4:20 pm

Probably an unpopular opinion, but I actually agree with this ruling.


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22 Jan 2022, 4:51 pm

Ihavestandardsjust wrote:
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I actually agree with this ruling.

I agree with it also. Mandating speech is just absurd.

What do you call a hot dog in a gangster suit?

Oscar Meyer Lansky

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22 Jan 2022, 6:01 pm

The problem with restricting speech by law is that what happens is that many people like me will be too scared to speak to anyone who is transgender (Or any other group whom one has to be careful around) and will simply not speak rather then risk causing offence, and this is how the majority of people will also deal with the situation. The result is that the few kinder hearted people who used to reach out and include the transgender or any other minority group now is forced to separate themselves from them incase they cause offense.

I did not realize how much this made a difference until about a year ago where my brother and his Korean wife happened to befriend a young pair of Muslim lads from the town. The Muslims have been here in the town now for a good 20 years but around eight years ago... Maybe 10 years the laws changed where if one shares ones faith to a Muslim (Or anyone else who is of a minority religion) and they object, then one can be arrested and charged, and in my town because one or two older Muslims hated the Christians (Who themselves were a minority as most of the town is atheist but the law does jot take this into account) went out if their way to set up senarios where they could take advantage of this and several Christians were arrested foe sharing their faith and one man was imprisoned in Swansea prison for a few months for oreaching the gospel (As our towns police took the law seriously and later the then primeminister Terisa May had to say that the law was never intended to be interpreted in this way but our area still is rather strict. Muslims however have the freedom to preach to anyone).
But the result of this when news quickly spread throughout the town and surrounding area is that Muslims living here were being excluded and ignored, not just from the Christians but from the atheists as well.
Then a year ago when my brother and his wife met those two guys, they said that for the first ten years of their life they were treated well but then when they hit secondary school the new laws came in and their friends started to exclude them and so did others who knew they were Muslim. They were in their late teens to early 20's saying this and they could not believe that my brother and his wife wanted to get to know them. (Brothers wife is Korean so does not understand the laws and brother is a little nieve but he is extremely kind).
I heard these two young men share and I was almost in tears at how things used to be as our town used to be so welcoming to anyone before these new laws came in. I had also had to keep away from the Muslims due to these laws. It is never meant to be like this!

The same thing is going to happen if one pushes for laws restricting the freedom of speach to protect the feelings of a few transgender people because where they used to be included by most people even though they may be addressed as he or she, at least the majority of people were not trying to exclude them, so while there is still a chance, do all you can to stop the individual freedom of expression from being limited, because if it is, it only takes a few arrests before your whole city or town or village etc will stop including the very ones who the laws saught to try and protect and I am being very serious when I say this because it has already happened here and the laws have changed the character of my nearest town where the majority if white locals will only speak to strangers of their own type who they know are of a similar religion or of no religion and it is really sad. And instead of the Welsh welcome we are so famously known for our town is now cold. People are less likely to say "Hello" as they pass like they used to. It is sad!