A judge has ruled that a Loudoun County teacher on administrative leave after he said he would refuse to address transgender students by their preferred pronouns must be reinstated by the school division.
Leesburg Elementary School teacher Byron Tanner Cross told the county’s school board during a recent meeting that the use of preferred gender pronouns for transgender students was against his religion.
“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” Cross said. “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.”
Tanner was placed on administrative leave after the meeting.
The court on Tuesday granted Tanner Cross’s request for a temporary injunction, ordering the school system to allow him to return to his job, and stop banning him from Loudoun County Public Schools property, NBCWashington reported.
Judge James E. Plowman Jr. wrote that he granted the injunction because Cross's rights to speech and religious liberty are central to the case.
During his comments to the board, Cross was criticizing the school system’s new draft policy, “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students.”
According to draft policy 8040, “LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence.”