Teacher Placed on Administrative Leave for Refusing to Call Student By Preferred Pronouns

We live in a world where the gender you’re born with doesn’t always have to be the gender you choose to have as an adult. Sometimes men decide to become women and vice versa. In other cases, people decide that neither male nor female defines who they are.

When someone decides to change their gender identity, one of the first things they do, besides dressing differently, is to change their preferred pronouns and perhaps to change their name. Calling someone “he” instead of “she” or “they” instead of “her” is a big deal not just to the person who is changing their pronouns but also to their friends, family and even their teachers.

Recently, a teacher at Leesburg Elementary School in Loudoun County in Virginia refused to call a transgender student by the student’s preferred pronouns. Gym teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross claims that doing so is against his religion and harmful to students.

During a school board meeting, Cross explained, “I’m a teacher, but I serve God first. 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.”

Cross also cited a “60 Minutes” episode that highlighted transgender people who chose to de-transition after deciding that the gender they were born with was the correct gender after all. You can watch him address the school board in the video below.

Currently, Cross is on paid administrative leave for violating Loudoun County school district draft policy 8040 which reads, “LCPS 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 nonprofit Alliance Against Freedom believes the school district’s policy is unconstitutional. ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer explained, “LCPS wants to compel teachers to endorse and advance an ideology. LCPS favors certain beliefs, and it wants to force Tanner to cry uncle and endorse them as well. It’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”

Do you think it’s unconstitutional to make a teacher call a transgender student by his or her preferred pronouns?  In this case, the teacher is at an elementary school. At what age do you think it’s appropriate to allow a student to decide he or she is transgender?