The judge noted that any loss of First Amendment freedoms, “for even minimal periods of time,” is “irreparable,” and that “similarly situated employees” in the district already have been “chilled from speech” because of the administrators’ actions.
The Virginia Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court’s decision to reinstate Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, to his position after Loudoun County Public Schools suspended him for expressing his views on the board’s transgender agenda.
The district has been ground zero in America for the fight over transgender mandates in public schools in recent weeks, and just days ago formally adopted a policy demanding adherence to the socio-political agenda.
The lower court had ruled Cross’ suspension was likely unconstitutional as it was because of his speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. The school then appealed to the high court.
“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting,” Tyson Langhofer, counsel for Cross. “The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found. But because Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment, we have moved to amend our lawsuit to challenge that policy on behalf of multiple faculty members. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job.”
The board’s new dictate forces all school district students and staff to refer to “gender-expansive or transgender” students using whatever pronouns they can choose.
In response to the board’s adoption of the mandate, several other teachers are being added to the case as plaintiffs.
When the lower court ordered Cross reinstated, the district near Washington, D.C., decided to double down on its punishment, filing the now-unsuccessful appeal.