The Loudoun County School Board has agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting it from retaliating against Leesburg Elementary School teacher Tanner Cross for expressing his constitutionally protected views on the board's transgender policy.
As CBN News has reported, Cross made headlines earlier this year after he was suspended for telling the school board that he wouldn't address children by preferred pronouns because it violates his Christian beliefs.
"I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them, regardless of the consequences," he said in late May. "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."
Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Circuit Court Ruling
In an earlier ruling, the Loudoun County Circuit Court granted Cross' request for preliminary relief against retaliation by the school board. That came after he had spoken at a public school board meeting, objecting to the proposed Policy 8040 which forces teachers to violate their beliefs by requiring them to address "transgender and gender-expansive" students by their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex.
Cross is represented by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal firm dedicated to protecting religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
As part of the settlement, the Loudoun County School Board also agreed to remove any reference to Cross' suspension from his personnel file and to pay $20,000 toward Cross' attorneys' fees.
School Board Approved Controversial 'Policy 8040'
In August, the court allowed ADF attorneys to amend the original complaint to add new claims against newly enacted Policy 8040 on the Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students, and to include Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart's Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright as clients alongside Cross. That portion of the lawsuit will continue against the board.
The school board approved Policy 8040 on Aug. 11. It specifies that all staff shall "shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student's permanent educational record."
Students are also permitted to use the restroom or locker room "that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity."
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