Va. school district appealing reinstatement of teacher who spoke out against gender policies

The case pits the teacher's First Amendment rights against the disruption the school claims it is suffering.
Supreme Court

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) in Virginia said Friday that it will appeal a judge's order to reinstate Tanner Cross, who was suspended after making comments regarding gender that were considered controversial. 

LCPS said it will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

"Leesburg Elementary School and Loudoun County Public Schools experienced – and continue to experience – significant disruption since the May 25 School Board meeting during which Cross addressed the board. Many students and parents at Leesburg Elementary have expressed fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school. Addressing those concerns is paramount to the school division's goal to provide a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment for all students. While LCPS respects the rights of public-school employees to free speech and free exercise of religion, those rights do not outweigh the rights of students to be educated in a supportive and nurturing environment." 

But Judge James E. Plowman took a different view of balancing the claims of disruption at the school with those of Cross' First Amendment rights, according to Fox News.

He said Cross' "interest in expressing his First Amendment speech outweigh the Defendant's interest in restricting the same and the level of disruption that Defendant asserts did not serve to meaningfully disrupt the operations or services of Leesburg Elementary School."

This began last month when Cross told the LCPS school board that he wouldn't "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."

Cross had referred to the school district's draft policy 8040, which required the staff to use "preferred pronouns."

Cross is being defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which stated that it is confident it will succeed.