Loudoun, Va teacher speaks out after school agrees not to retaliate over transgender policy critique
Tanner Cross and attorney Ryan Bangert offer reaction on ‘The Story’
A Northern Virginia school teacher said Tuesday he will continue to provide a safe and educational environment for all students after his school district agreed to a permanent injunction against retaliation for his critique of a pro-transgender policy called 8040.
Tanner Cross of Leesburg Elementary School critiqued Policy 8040 at a school board meeting in May, saying that he is a “teacher but serve[s] God first.”
Policy 8040 requires school staff to refer to students by their preferred pronouns, to open activities to students according to their gender identity, to allow students access to facilities corresponding to gender identity, and to complete training on topics related to LGBTQ+ students.
Leesburg Elementary School physical education teacher Tanner Cross speaking at a press conference in Leesburg, Virginia, on Nov. 15, 2021.
(Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom)
“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,” Cross said at that meeting.
As part of the legal settlement, the Loudoun County school board has also agreed to pay his legal fees in the case.
“I’m so glad to be back with my students, and my students are happy that I’m there. You know, I feel vindicated,” Cross told “The Story.”
“I just hope other teachers feel confident as I do now with this huge victory and maybe they’ll go advocate for their students.”
Cross said that in the time since, one student did ask him to be called by a different name and that he agreed to, telling host Martha MacCallum that he will address students using whatever name they wish but that he will not say things that are “untrue” such as “untrue pronouns.”
“I can’t say anything harmful or lying to a child. I will continue to create an environment where there’s always respect and dignity and love and care to my students,” he said.
Cross attorney Ryan Bangert said Loudoun County acknowledged his client’s right to “advocate for the good of [his] students.”
In the settlement, the school board, Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler and interim Assistant Superintendent Lucia Villa Sebastian agreed to remove any reference to Cross’s suspension in his record, to abide by an injunction preventing them from retaliating against him for his speech against 8040 and to pay $20,000 in legal fees. The settlement is not an admission of guilt on the part of the defendants.
Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.
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