Members of a Facebook group for “anti-racist” parents in Loudon County, Virginia, appear to have conspired against a Christian gym teacher who spoke out against the school board’s transgender policies to try to prevent him from being reinstalled in his job after he was punished by the school.
Tanner Cross, a gym teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, went viral earlier this year after an impassioned speech he gave to the school board objecting to a proposed policy that would have forced him to use a student’s preferred pronouns, on the basis of his devout Christian faith.
Cross, like millions of Americans of devout faith or otherwise, upholds the view that neither elementary students nor anyone else can change their gender and feels that it would be dishonest to refer to a child by any other pronoun than that which corresponds with the way God designed them.
And good for him for that.
Clarifying immediately that he spoke “out of love” for those suffering from gender dysphoria, the mental disorder which causes some individuals to feel they are members of the opposite sex, Cross explained his position.
“I love all of my students but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” he told the school board. “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.”
This compassionate and honest speech resulted in Cross being placed on leave. Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, he filed a lawsuit in June, and a judge ordered that he be allowed to return to work. The school district has appealed this decision.
When elementary school PE teacher Tanner Cross heard about the radical gender policies his district was planning on implementing this fall, he spoke up at his local school board meeting. pic.twitter.com/GzseSTq4aq
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) June 17, 2021
However, before he was reinstated, the “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” Facebook group appeared to plot out how to prolong his suspension as long as possible, according to screenshots obtained by The Daily Caller.
The outlet reported that on June 1, an “action item” was posted to the group calling for “disruption of school activities” to “help keep Cross on leave.”
The group reportedly suggested phone calls and emails to Leesburg’s principal, Shawn Lacey, to “keep the heat on to demonstrate that Cross’ behavior is not only contrary to district, state, and federal policy, but also unacceptable to our community.”
Cross’ “behavior,” of course, was the free expression of his personal beliefs before a locally elected school board that perhaps contemporary trends in treating gender dysphoria were not only psychologically risky but spiritually and morally weighty.
A May 31 post from Beth Barts, a member of the Loudon County school board, assured parents that they’d already passed a policy regarding “gender expression” separate from the proposed policy that Cross had spoken out against on May 25, according to the Daily Caller.
“I want to remind the community that we already passed a policy referring to gender expression. We passed this policy months ago,” she reportedly told the group, along with a screenshot of policy 1040, which prohibited “[d]emeaning or otherwise harmful actions” particularly as directed to, among other things, gender identity and gender orientation.
The following day, May 26, Barts reportedly sent an email to the superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, Scott Ziegler, in which she said she’d received emails from parents who were demanding their children be pulled out of Cross’ class after the video went viral. The Daily Caller also reported that it had obtained a number of such emails sent to the district regarding Cross.
“Parents are concerned, angry and hurt,” Barts wrote, according to the outlet. “Please advise,” she concluded.
According to Fox News, Cross was placed on leave on May 27, the day after this email was reportedly sent.
“When I spoke, I was thinking about my values, my students, my parents and my fellow teachers,” Cross said at a rally after he was ousted, according to WRC-TV. “The truth is I’m not alone. Many of us are concerned that proposed policies would harm students and require us to violate our beliefs by saying things that are not true.”
This was when the “anti-racist” Facebook group reportedly began to plot how they could keep him out of the school as long as possible — although a judge would later grant Cross a temporary injunction, ordering that he be allowed to return to work.
In fact, it was angry parents the school feared when they placed him on leave in the first place — their attorneys argued that the school had been concerned about the backlash should Cross remain employed.
The judge, however, said that the school had failed to demonstrate that Cross’ presence at the school posed a significant disruption of school operations, so apparently, the efforts of these disruptive parents were in vain, at least for the time being.
There is nothing liberal, at all, about trying to force someone not only to violate their conscience but to try to ensure that they’re punished and maligned when they object to being forced to violate their beliefs.
This is always what has been so dangerous about gender theory, and it is just as dangerous as the questionable “treatments” children are being subject to in the name of “gender affirmation.”
What has been lost in this debate is not only Cross’ astute points about honesty, the sanctity of the human body and the well-being of children, but what the freedom to be oneself really means. It’s not fighting to silence those who disagree with your beliefs, that’s for sure.
Freedom has never been about forcing someone else to agree with you, and compelling speech is the exact opposite of liberty.
The only reason the progressives continue to win is that they paint a false picture of tolerance and acceptance, and then bully anyone who challenges them on the hollowness of these promises.
This is exactly why Cross is a true champion for freedom as well as a sincere and concerned advocate for children. Those who share his views absolutely not must allow themselves to be silenced — this is a war for the future of our nation, and the generation that we must rely on to carry on the torch of liberty before it is snuffed out entirely.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.