Tanner Crossed The Line

Leesburg Elementary School teacher, Tanner Cross, speaks out against the “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students” policy.

Tanner Crossed The Line

By: Emily Bailey

The pandemic was a very influential time. From the BLM, woman rights, and to the many LGBTQ+ protest; many people around the world exercised their right to peacefully assemble. 

But earlier this year Physical Education teacher at Leesburg Elementary, Byron Tanner Cross, decided to exercise his right to free speech by refusing to refer to a student by their preferred pronouns.

Spanning from the beginning of June to the beginning of September of this year Cross has had a difficult road coming back from his own bold statements. While at a board meeting a while back in May of this year, Cross made some comments against transgender and gender-fluid students. “I love all my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. 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 abuse to a child and it’s sinning against our God,” said Cross at the school board meeting.

Around two days after the meeting Cross was put on suspension, and put on paid leave. “Barring Mr. Cross from the grounds and buildings of Loudoun County Public Schools (the “District”) including future School Board meetings, and excluding him from all school-sponsored activities or extracurricular events,” stated Cross’s lawsuit against LCPS School board. They also went on to talk about how they violated his right to free speech and religion as stated in the US constitution.

There have been many people who have agreed with this discussion. The district came out with a statement talking about the situation and how “many students and parents at Leesburg Elementary have expressed fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school” again. “While LCPS respects the rights of public-school employees to free speech and free exercise of religion, those rights do not outweigh the rights of students to be educated in a supportive and nurturing environment.” The district does go on to say in their official statement. 

And though there is support of the district and some families, there are people in support of Cross and his comments. Sarah Kramer, an investigative reporter for the Alliance Defending Freedom team; who also has a college degree in Political Econ and Journalism, has made a few statements of her own in defence against the actions taken against Cross. Early this month Karmer wrote an article and stated, “This is a teacher’s right–and every American’s right, for that matter–to speak their opinion at a public meeting. And it’s unconstitutional for the school district to punish a teacher for exercising that right.” She also goes on to write how this is just a “scientific fact” and how the policy “forces teachers to lie to students.” 

Karmer also goes on to thank the Judge, James E. Plowman Jr, for ruling the district for putting him on paid leave to also be “ an unconstitutional action” and to allow him to return to his job. 

Katie Rose, a former Leesburg Elementary student, goes on to counter Kamer’s argument. “ I think it’s not right that she’s siding with him; respecting pronouns isn’t that hard.” Rose says. She also says how she “thought this wasn’t what the school stood for.” 

It’s been a hard and long road for every minority to not only gain equal rights as a human, but to be seen as a person as well. The “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students” policy is in place for a reason, and being able to make sure each and every one of your classmates, or students, is provided with a comfortable place to be confident in and with themselves is important. Having this environment is vital for each and every classroom to have, so each and every student can succeed. How could you expect a classmate or student to succeed if they don’t even feel comfortable in the environment that has been given to them to do just that. To succeed.  

So whether it is to a peer, friend, or a stranger, remember to treat people the way you want to be treated, and respect their pronouns.