A Virginia physical education teacher has been placed on leave following his criticism of his district’s transgender policies, the Loudoun (County) Times-Mirror reported Friday.
Byron "Tanner" Cross, a physical education teacher in Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, took the Board of Education to task for its transgender policies at a public meeting Tuesday night.
"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,'' Cross told the board. "I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I am 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."
According to the newspaper, Cross was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday.
In an email to the district’s parents on Thursday afternoon, Leesburg Elementary School Principal Shawn Lacey said Cross was ''on leave beginning this morning.''
"I wanted you to know this because it may affect your student's school routine. Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information," the email said.
Cross’ remarks were critical of policies being considered by the board to align with state legislation that calls on the state’s school boards to adopt "policies that are consistent with model policies developed by the [Virginia] Department of Education" by the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, according to the paper.
A draft of one of the proposed policies the Loudoun County board is considering would 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.''
The policy is in front of the board’s Pupil Services Committee and has not yet come before the full board for a vote, according to the paper.
The district reports being the third largest in the state with an enrollment of 81,504 students across 95 schools, including 59 elementary schools, and an operating budget of just over $1 billion.
In his remarks, Cross pointed to a May 23 CBS News ''60 Minutes'' segment in which 30 transgender students said that they are reversing medical procedures because they feel there was not enough counseling about their initial decision to state a gender identity.
Transgender issues are the subject of heated debates throughout the country, with some states passing legislation making medical procedures harder to get, especially for minors.
According to the ''60 Minutes'' segment, the administration of President Joe Biden is reversing policies of former President Donald Trump, making it easier for the transgender community to get medical care.
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