An elementary school in Virginia has placed a physical education teacher on leave after he told the school board that he wouldn't affirm transgender identities because it's tantamount to lying and child abuse, and stressed, “I’m a teacher but I serve God first.”
Leesburg Elementary School in Loudoun County placed the teacher, Byron “Tanner” Cross, on leave Thursday, Fox News reported.
The decision was made two days after Cross explained at a Loudoun County School Board meeting on May 25 why he wouldn’t “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa.”
“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria,” he told the board.
Referring to CBS News’ “60 Minutes” investigation that aired Sunday, the Christian teacher said the over 30 young people who were interviewed by Lesley Stahl had “transitioned but felt led astray because of lack of pushback or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies in just three months.”
“They are now detransitioning,” he added, explaining that he was not intending to hurt anyone, “but there are certain truths that we must face when ready.”
“We condemn school policies like 8040 and 8350 because it would damage children, defile the holy image of God,” he continued. “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.”
He stressed that “it's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God.”
A public draft of Policy 8040 states that teachers would be required to use a student's preferred pronouns.
"LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student's permanent educational record," the policy says.
Policy 8350 states: "LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive and transgender students to participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity."
The policy also stipulates that Louden County Public Schools will be required to give trans-identified students access to the restrooms of their choosing, and to provide private single-use facilities if requested.
"Students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their gender identity. While some transgender students will want that access, others may want alternatives that afford more privacy. Taking into account existing school facilities, administrators should take steps to designate gender-inclusive or single-user restrooms commensurate with the size of the school."
In October 2019, Peter Vlaming, a high school French teacher at a school in West Point, Virginia, sued the school district that fired him because he opted to use a trans-identified student’s chosen name instead of their preferred pronouns.
In a scathing op-ed published by The Washington Times at the time, the teacher wrote against the West Point School Board’s decision.
“They didn’t want to listen to my students and their parents, or to the clear directives of our state constitution (and Virginia law), or to what I tried to explain to them with my words and in the way I lived out my professional life on the West Point High School campus,” Vlaming wrote.
“Indeed, the administrators proved themselves deaf to virtually everything but the current political mandate which decrees that only one perspective on gender identity is to be accommodated,” he added.