LOUDOUN COUNTY

Virginia Teacher on Leave After Saying He Won't Use Transgender Students' Chosen Pronouns

"I am 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 is against my religion," Leesburg Elementary School teacher Byron "Tanner" Cross said

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Loudoun County teacher is on administrative leave after telling the school board he could not abide by its proposed policy on transgender students.

Byron “Tanner” Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, told the board last week that a proposed policy would “damage” children and it would be against his religion to follow it.

The draft policy that he is against says “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.”

The comments Cross made in prepared remarks to the school board lasted less than a minute.

“We condemn school policies like 8040 and 8035 because it would damage children and defile the holy image of God,” Cross said. “I love all of my students, but I would never lie to them, regardless of the consequences. I am 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 is against my religion, it’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child and it’s sinning against our God.”

Cross’ attorney, Tyson Langhofer, said his client went to work at the school the next day and everything seemed fine, until he was given a letter that said he was suspended.

“The only thing that they’ve told him in the letter they provided him was that he is being investigated for actions that disturbed the educational activities at Leesburg Elementary,” Lanhofer said. 

It’s unclear for how long Cross will be suspended. 

“I think that what everybody really needs to understand is that educators are just like everybody. They have ideas and opinions, and they should be free to express them,” Langhofer said. “And so advocating for solutions at a public meeting for important issues that they believe in shouldn’t cost them their jobs.”

A spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools told News4 in a statement that Cross is on paid administrative leave and the school system will have no further comment. 

Contact Us