A Christian P.E. teacher in an embattled progressive Virginia school district has been put on leave after publicly refusing to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns, it was revealed Friday.
The P.E. teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross spoke out Tuesday at a Loudoun County Public Schools meeting about a “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students” policy.
“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” the Leesburg Elementary teacher said, according to video posted online.
He referred to the recent “60 Minutes” special which highlighted teens who were now “de-transitioning” after rushing their decisions.
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” he told the board, which has already bitterly divided parents and educators by pushing critical race theory.
“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,” he said.
The district confirmed to the Loudoun Times-Mirror Friday that Cross had been put on paid administrative leave, with the school having also emailed parents with the news Thursday.
“Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information,” Leesburg Elementary principal Shawn Lacy wrote, according to the local paper.
However, the teacher’s wife, Angela Cross, confirmed in a Facebook post Friday that he was put on leave “as a result of his speaking out.”
“As Americans, we believe that every American has the right to their beliefs, but NO AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE THEIR BELIEFS ON OTHERS,” she wrote.
“We spoke out first and foremost to protect the children and also to defend the first amendment rights of teachers and staff,” she said.
She noted that her husband was “sad that they did not get to say goodbye” to his students and colleagues, but that he “will do everything he can” to return to the job.
“In answer to the many question of what you can do to help, first please stand with us in truth and with love on God’s word,” she wrote.
The policy he objected to says that “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,” the Times-Mirror noted.
The progressive district has already been under fire for pushing critical race theory in the affluent area’s schools.
Parents have lashed out in meetings, taken out ads — and called for six board members to be recalled for pushing the controversial policy many parents have said is itself racist.