Virginia Gym Teacher Placed On Leave For Refusing To Use Preferred Pronouns

A Christian gym teacher in Virginia stood up at a Loudoun County Public Schools meeting on Tuesday during a discussion about Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students” to say that he would not use a student’s preferred pronouns because that would be “lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child.”

Byron “Tanner” Cross has now been placed on leave after he stood up at the meeting, the New York Post reported. The gym teacher began his remarks by expressing love and empathy for transgender students.

“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” said Cross, who teaches in Leesburg.

He then mentioned the recent “60 Minutes” segment that featured teenagers who had transitioned and later regretted the decision.

“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” Cross said, according to the Post.

“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” Cross added. “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.”

On Friday, the school district confirmed to the Loudon Times-Mirror that Cross had been placed on paid administrative leave. The school had already emailed parents about the decision on Thursday.

Angela Cross, Tanner’s wife, posted on Facebook that her husband had been placed on leave for “speaking out” at the meeting. She made clear that it was not the school’s decision to place him on leave, but the school board’s and superintendent’s. She added (emphasis original):

We are not affiliated with any other group. We DO NOT CONDONE NAME CALLING or any other speech that does not stand on the truth of God’s word. We know that many with good intentions are trying to get the word out and we are thankful, but PLEASE SPEAK TRUTH WITH LOVE. We are all sinners, saved by the Grace of God and we love ALL of His children.

As Americans, we believe that every American has the right to their beliefs, but NO AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE THEIR BELIEFS ON OTHERS.

Lastly and most importantly, Tanner wanted to say to all of his students and family at Leesburg Elementary that he is sad that they did not get to say goodbye and will do everything he can to be with you again soon.

“We spoke out first and foremost to protect the children and also to defend the first amendment rights of teachers and staff,” she added.

The Times-Mirror reported that Cross objected to a policy that said “staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence.”

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