September 1, 2021

VA Supreme Court Backs Teacher Against Loudoun County

The school district violated Tanner Cross’s rights by suspending him for objecting to its “transgender” policy.

Loudoun County elementary school teacher Tanner Cross, who was suspended by the school board for daring to voice his opposition to what was then a proposed “transgender” policy, won his case before the Virginia Supreme Court. The policy in question has since been adopted by the school board. Among other things, it requires teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns based upon their declared “gender identity,” irrespective of their biological sex. Cross objected. The school board sought to justify its actions against Cross by claiming that he was not suspended for voicing his opinion but for the “disruption” his views caused. It was a distinction without a difference.

The Virginia Supreme Court rejected the board’s objection to a judge’s previous injunction, deciding that the board had violated Cross’s free speech rights.

While this is indeed a win, this ruling does not negate Loudoun County Public Schools’s “transgender” policy. It does, however, open the door for it to be challenged, which is exactly what Cross’s defense team, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), is doing. Supporting case law includes the Virginia Supreme Court’s apparent approval of the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Meriwether v. Hartop, in which the court “emphatically held that a university professor stated viable free speech and free exercise claims based on his university’s disciplining him for refusing, based on his Christian faith, to use a student’s preferred pronouns.” Here’s hoping Cross prevails.

In related news regarding gender-bending in public schools, a California teacher is rightly under investigation for encouraging her students to pledge allegiance to the gay pride flag. In a viral social media video, Orange County public school teacher Kristen Pitzen discusses the pledge of allegiance and disparages the American flag, saying it made her “uncomfortable.” She also claimed to have lost her U.S. flag during the state’s COVID lockdown. When a student questioned where the flag was, she claimed not to know and suggested instead that they could pledge allegiance to a gay pride flag hanging on the wall in her classroom.

School district public relations officer Annette Franco noted that the incident is under investigation. “We can tell you that showing respect and honor for our nation’s flag is a value that we instill in our students and an expectation of our employees,” she said. “We take matters like this seriously and will be taking action to address it.”

The irony that this teacher can’t seem to wrap her mind around is the fact that the American flag she disparages represents the nation that affords her the freedom to express and even celebrate views that many find immoral and objectionable. Like so many anti-American leftists, she’s biting the hand that feeds her.

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