After speaking at a school board meeting in May, Byron Tanner Cross was suspended for stating that he would “not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa”.
He has now filed a lawsuit to champion his right to speak the truth. He is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement that he believes public schools cannot “suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting”.
“The school district favours a certain set of beliefs on a hotly contested issue, and it wants to force Tanner to cry uncle and endorse them as well,” stated Langhofer. “That’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”
Cross had spoken respectfully when representing his views at the meeting, insisting he was speaking out of love for the students.
“My name is Tanner Cross, and I am speaking out of love for those who suffer with gender dysphoria,” said Cross at the May 25 meeting.
“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.”
A couple of days later he was placed on suspension for violating a proposed policy that forces staff to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns, regardless of the truth of the situation.
“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,” the draft states.
Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, commended the teacher for taking a stand.
“Extremist gender activists are putting children at risk by insisting that a lie is the truth,” she said.
“No one can change their sex. It isn’t just a religious belief, it is a scientific fact.
“Teachers were once given a position of trust based on their commitment to facts, evidence and truth.
“That is now being severely compromised as they are being forced to ‘affirm’ lies instead of champion the truth.”