Trial scheduled for Leesburg teacher suspended in transgender controversy

A trial is coming up in Virginia’s Loudoun County Circuit Court in connection with a lawsuit filed by a physical education teacher who was suspended after saying publicly that he would not address transgender students by their preferred pronouns.

Byron Tanner Cross will appear in court in early September, according to his attorney.

Cross, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, filed the suit against Loudoun County Public Schools claiming the decision to suspend him was unconstitutional.

“We’re scheduled to go to trial Sept. 7 and 8 on the ultimate determination whether the school violated Tanner’s constitutional rights by suspending him,” said attorney Tyson Langhofer on “CPAC NOW: America UnCanceled.”

The civil trial will be in Loudoun County Circuit Court.

In June, a judge issued a temporary injunction reinstating Cross at his school, but the county’s school system appealed the decision and is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter.

“While that appeal is pending, the case in the trial court is still moving forward,” Langhofer said.

Lawyers for the school system have argued that Cross was not being disciplined for what he said, but that his comments had been disruptive. They said several parents complained.

Cross was suspended after he said at a May 25 school board meeting that he could not abide by a proposed policy that would require teachers to address transgender students by their chosen gender.

“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” Cross said at the meeting. “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.”

The school board was reviewing its policies in conjunction with a state mandate requiring all school systems to update their policies on transgender students.

The model regulations circulated by the state include a requirement that students be addressed by their preferred pronouns.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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