A Loudoun County teacher who was put on leave after saying he would refuse to address students by their preferred pronouns is now suing the school system.
Attorneys for Leesburg Elementary School physical education teacher Byron "Tanner" Cross want his suspension lifted. They say the suspension violates the state's constitution and his first amendment rights.
The school board is considering implementing a policy that would allow transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns.
Last week, Cross said at a school board meeting that it's against his religious beliefs to refer to a student by preferred pronouns rather than their biological sex.
Cross is now on paid administrative leave.
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing Cross, said they sent a letter to the school Friday and asked for his reinstatement.
The school stood by its suspension, according to Cross' attorneys.
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The organization filed the lawsuit in the Loudoun County Circuit Court Tuesday, asking for Cross to be immediately reinstated. They also asked the court to temporarily bar the school system from prohibiting or punishing Cross or anyone else who expresses views on the gender identity policy.
Alliance Defending Freedom says it’s a nonprofit legal organization “committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life."
Cross' comments and leave attracted the attention of the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin, who told Fox News it's a constitutional violation and an example of the "liberal left waging a culture war."