At the end of May, I covered the story of Tanner Cross, a teacher in Virginia’s loudly left-wing Loudoun County Public Schools district.
He’d come to a decision: He wouldn’t conform to the school’s transgender rules.
From Policy 8040:
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, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record.
Acquiescence is a must:
School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate. Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy.
Tanner — an elementary P.E. teacher — stood before the board and offered the following:
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone. But there are certain truths that we must face when ready. We condemn school policies…[that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God. I love all of 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 against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
Two days later, he was placed on paid leave.
Byron’s pastor at Cornerstone Chapel, Gary Hamrick, backed him from the pulpit:
“We’ve got to take back our schools. … Are we just to throw our arms up and surrender and retreat and let our country and our county and our kids be taken over by progressive, liberal, Marxist ideology? I mean, this is just…out of control. Someone steps up, free speech, lovingly talks about how, by his faith, he has to be true to reality. And for that, he’s placed on administrative leave.
“They are emotionally abusing our children by perpetuating the lie about gender confusion when they affirm pronouns that are contrary to biology, reality, and the beautiful design of God. So they need to be held accountable. And it’s time to step up.”
That prompted a statement from the Loudoun County Democratic Committee:
We call on Pastor Gary Hamrick to recant his allegations due to the libelous and inflammatory nature of the remarks. Unfounded statements such as these not only hurt our community that he is meant to serve but have dangerous ramifications for the incitement of violence.
ADF insists the county violated his rights.
Following a court appearance Friday, a rally was held in his support.
Tanner addressed the attendees:
“When I spoke, I was thinking about my values, my students, my parents, and my fellow teachers. The truth is, I am not alone. Many of us are concerned that proposed policies would harm students and require us to violate our beliefs by saying things that are not true.”
Speaking to the Free Beacon, Jim Supp — pastor of Reston Bible Church — called to scripture:
“We believe that Tanner took a stand for what the Bible says, that God made them male and female. And it doesn’t get any more complicated than that. To tell an elementary student that, if you’re in a boy’s body, you can be a girl, or if you’re in a girl’s body, you can be a boy, that’s just not true.”
Sharon Supp, whose two children attend LDPS, marveled at a rapid change:
“If you would have asked me five years ago how I felt about Loudoun County, raising kids here, sending them to school here, I would have said it was the most amazing place in the U.S. to raise a kid and send them to school.”
On the other side of the fight, county representative Stacy Hani insists Tanner caused a disruption.
In court — where he seeks an injunction in order to return to work — Stacy offered emails from parents saying they no longer want their children around him.
Furthermore, she said, state law requires schools to accommodate transgender children.
Tanner’s attorney, Tyson Langhofer, noted the importance of the case:
“If we win, this will continue to reinforce the law that has been there for a long time. But if we lose, it means something: It’s a sea change in the law.”
“It would say to school districts across the country,” he asserted, “that you can punish teachers who simply voice their opinions in a public forum, and that’s completely contrary to everything the First Amendment stands for.”
Surely much more is to come — not only concerning Tanner, but this issue across the nation.
America’s schools have opened Pandora’s box.
Closing it — if ever such a thing occurs — is likely a long ways off.
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