The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board agreed to a settlement of the original claims teacher Tanner Cross made in his lawsuit against the board. The agreement includes a permanent injunction barring the board from retaliating against Cross for speaking against the school’s transgender policy. The school will also pay $20,000 for Cross’ legal fees, and remove any reference to Cross’ suspension from his personnel file. The rest of the lawsuit to block enforcement of the transgender policy is still going forward.
The initial lawsuit was triggered after the school placed Cross on leave following comments at a May 27 school board meeting. He opposed a proposal that would require staff to use students’ preferred pronouns. In a preliminary injunction, Cross was allowed to return to work. On November 15, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cross, announced the settlement of claims in that initial lawsuit.
“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, and they certainly shouldn’t be silenced from commenting at public meetings,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a press release.
After the lawsuit was filed, the LCPS Board passed the proposed policy that Cross had spoken out against. Responding to that, the ADF changed their complaint against the Board and added two other teachers, Monica Gill and Kim Wright. That portion of the lawsuit, featuring Cross, Gill, and Wright, is still in court. On Monday, ADF attorneys argued in court for a preliminary hearing blocking enforcement of the transgender policy while the lawsuit continues.
“The new policy forces all of the school district’s students and staff to refer to “gender-expansive or transgender” students using whatever gender pronoun is chosen by the student, regardless of whether the pronoun is consistent with the student’s biological sex,” an ADF press release summarizes.
The ADF brief in support of the preliminary injunction states that the LCPS Board “has fully embraced a controversial and unscientific approach to students suffering with gender dysphoria and has now decided to force that approach on all members of the school community at the expense of fundamental constitutional rights. This court should quickly enjoin the Board’s unlawful demand that teachers sacrifice their rights in service of a misguided ideology that will harm all students in Loudoun County.”
– – –