The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School french teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns.
“Virginia’s Constitution protects every Virginian’s ‘free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,’ and provides that they ‘shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities,'” states the petition for appeal, filed November 12.
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.
The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s injunction to force Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross. LCPS officials had asked for a review of the decision by the Loudoun County Circuit Court, saying the court was incorrect to find a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, that Cross wasn’t likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction, and that the court hadn’t considered the totality of the circumstances.
“We conclude that the Defendants have not established the circuit court abused its discretion in granting Cross a temporary injunction,” the Virginia Supreme Court’s Monday order states.
After an elementary school teacher in Loudoun County was suspended for voicing his opposition to using students’ preferred gender pronouns at a school board meeting, his case might be headed to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Tyson Langhofer, an attorney for Byron Tanner Cross who is an elementary physical education teacher in the district, has filed a brief with the state’s highest Court asking it not to hear Loudoun County’s appeal on the issue.
GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has called for Loudoun County Public Schools to reinstate a teacher who was placed on leave after opposing a potential policy requiring staff to use students’ preferred pronouns.