Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher in Loudoun Country Public Schools who made headlines in May for saying he won't "lie" about there being only two genders in biblical sexuality and refused to "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl" is now speaking out about the ordeal he had to go through with the Virginia school just so he could uphold his religious beliefs.
Cross, a physical education teacher, took to the stage during a board meeting to condemn two of the school's proposed policies on gender identity. He was suspended 48 hours later.
In June, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ordered Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate Cross because the court believed the school had "adversely impacted [Cross'] First Amendment rights." The judge also rejected the school's argument that Cross was suspended for the "disruption" his statements caused, not for his religious beliefs.
Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Cross filed a lawsuit against the school's district officials to "hold them accountable for their unconstitutional actions."
In a conversation with International Christian Concern (ICC), Cross explained that it was his friend who notified him about "very concerning" policies in the school that he believed would be "harmful to children," which compelled him to speak out during the school board meeting.
Despite feeling as if his faith would be "compromised," Cross stood in defiance to declare that the policies would be "harmful" to both students and teachers because it would be "forcing teachers to lie" about biblical sexuality, which is that there are only two sexes: male and female.
The two policies in question would first, allow students to demand school staff and students to be called by their preferred pronouns, and secondly, allow students to use whichever bathroom feels appropriate for their gender identity, meaning that male students may use the female bathrooms and vice versa. Under the Loudoun Schools policy, students will also be allowed to play in whichever sports team they prefer as long as they felt it aligned with their gender identity.
This did not sit well with Cross, a Christian teacher whose teachings abided by both science and faith. He argued, "Faith aside, we're just talking about biological facts and science here, that there's only male and female."
Cross added that "On the government side, "I believe they have crossed the line, obviously, and it's just unconstitutional to silence people or punish them for using their First Amendment rights at a public hearing where I was asked in the community to come and speak at."
Jeff King, who represents Cross, added during the conversation that teachers who are "of faith...already feel completely muzzled." Cross recounted how he went on about his day following the school board meeting, saying it was like a regular day except when he came home, the HR department called him to inform him to come in the following day. When he "demanded" his job back, they declined.
Tyson Langhofer of ICC concluded that the reason why Tanner's case gained national attention is because it is "not an ideological issue" but rather an issue on whether teachers have the right to speak out in the "political process regarding policies that are going to affect them and their students." For Loudoun County, the answer was no.