Virginia Supreme Court: Christian teacher to be reinstated after suspension for speaking against transgender policy
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Virginia’s Supreme Court has ordered the reinstatement of a Loudoun teacher suspended for speaking against a transgender mandate proposed by his public school board, Just the News reports. The Supreme Court upheld a circuit court ruling that Christian teacher Tanner Cross had been exercising his right to free speech and his suspension was unwarranted.
A gym teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, Cross had raised objections to a proposal by Loudoun County School Board that would require all staff to use a student’s preferred gender pronoun, even if it was contrary to their biological sex. Cross was suspended and banned from the school grounds after five families sent in letters complaining about the objections he had raised, JN reports.
In its ruling, the Virginia Supreme Court said: “[I]t is settled law that the government may not take adverse employment actions against its employees in reprisal for their exercising their right to speak on matters of public concern,” JN reports.
The district and its officials were wrong to minimize Cross’ interest in making his objections known, the High Court continued. According to the Court, Cross had a “compelling” interest in making it known he believed the proposed policy (now approved) “can harm [children’s] physical or mental wellbeing” and that it could “burden his freedoms of expression and religion” by forcing him to address students contrary to their biological sex.
Moreover, the Court said, the school board presented no evidence to support the notion that Cross was suspended because of a “reasonable expectation that parents and students would avoid interacting with Cross to the point he could not fulfill his duties,” JN reports. The Court said it “views the magnitude of parental complaints to be ‘de minimis’” and no justification for suspending Cross.
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