Loudoun County, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C., is the richest county in America, according to the latest U.S. census report, with a median income of $142,229. It may also in the running for having the most “woke” school board, and it’s back in the news after placing a physical education teacher on leave for voicing his opposition to the latest transgender policy the board wants to impose.
Loudoun County School District (LCSD) held a school board meeting on May 25 at which proposed Policy 8040 came up regarding the subject of gender identity and the staff’s required use of transgender students’ “preferred pronouns.”
“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, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record,” the policy states.
Byron “Tanner” Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School in the district, spoke against the policy at the board meeting, mentioning a recent CBS 60 Minutes story about transgender individuals who regretted attempts to deal with their gender dysphoria through the use of hormone treatments and surgery.
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” Cross told the board. “We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.
“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I’m a teacher but I serve God first and 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.”
Two days after Cross spoke, the district informed him by letter that he was banned from the school’s campus and placed on administrative leave with pay while he was investigated for “engag[ing] in conduct that has had a disruptive impact on the operations of Leesburg Elementary School.”
Cross, a Christian and a teacher in the district for eight years, is pushing back against his suspension with the help of an attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which sent the district a letter of his own.
“The First Amendment prohibits retaliation against public employees for speaking on matters of public concern. ‘A teacher’s exercise of his right to speak on issues of public importance may not furnish the basis for his dismissal from public employment,’” Tyson Langhoffer, Senior Counsel with ADF, wrote, quoting from a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court case, Pickering v. Board of Education.
The ADF letter demands that the district immediately revoke Cross’ suspension, remove any record of it in his employment records and reinstate him. The district has not responded.
This is not the first time LCSD has been the subject of controversy. It has previously been criticized over its attempt to introduce a radical, sexualized educational agenda that includes library books teaching children as young as kindergarten age about homosexuality, and other young students about “underage drinking, fondling, masturbation, orgasms, oral sex, sexual intercourse, sexual abuse, statutory rape, incest, and rape.”
The district has recently been blasted for teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT), a Marxist-based philosophy that frames history through the lens of racial struggle.
Parents in Loudoun County are not universally happy with the actions of the school board. Parent and Child Loudon is a concerned group of parents attempting to educate the district’s families about the board’s questionable educational agenda. The group’s mission is to “monitor actions and policies that negatively impact Loudoun County Public Schools in order to inform and support parents and students.”
Parents in Virginia should also check out our friends at Virginia Family Foundation, a Focus on the Family ally. The pro-life, pro-family organization has been working hard for years to promote parental authority in education.
As Christian parents, we have the primary responsibility for the education of our children. As we delegate part of that responsibility to schools, we nonetheless carry the burden of ensuring that those schools do not teach subjects that contradict Scripture or undermine our ultimate authority over our children.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (ESV).
Mr. Cross initiated a lawsuit on Tuesday.
Focus on the Family Resources for Parents
Photo from Wikipedia