Policy compels students to refer to students by preferred pronouns in response to teacher’s religious objection
The Loudoun County, Virginia school board voted Tuesday to revise its professional conduct policy to explicitly address the First Amendment rights of employees.
Revised policy follows the August 30 rule Virginia Supreme court, which ruled Loudoun County Public Schools failed to prove that, after a lower court ordered Loudoun County teacher Tanner Cross to be reinstated after being placed on administrative leave in May for criticizing a proposed transgender policy. abused his discretion.
Citing his religion, Cross made a viral speech at a May school board meeting emphasizing his belief that referring to students with the pronoun that doesn’t match their biological gender, “lying to a child “It’s a child abuse, and it’s us sinning against God.”
“I am a teacher, but I serve God first. And I will not confirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion. This is a lie from a child. This is child abuse,” he said at the time.
After being placed on leave, Cross sued and a lower court agreed that her constitutional rights were likely to be violated by the school district.
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In a section titled “Protected Speech,” the revised policy reads, “School division employees must recognize that they are in a position of public trust. However, nothing in this policy or any other policy shall abbreviate the employee’s first shall not be interpreted as doing the right to engage in protected speech except as provided by law or to amend their right to a private life outside their work responsibilities.”
The policy also stipulates a “commitment to equitable treatment”, which states in part that “employees are expected to respect, promote professionalism, the actions of the school division through the performance of their job duties.” Support a commitment to equity and non-discrimination practices. Civilization and inclusivity for all individuals.”
In August, the school board Passed One measure mandates that teachers and staff refer to students by their preferred pronouns and that students are allowed to choose bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams based on their gender identity.