A Virginia school district announced on Friday that they would appeal a judge’s ruling to reinstate a teacher that refused to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns.
According to the New York Post, Loudoun County Public Schools plans to take its legal battle before the Supreme Court following federal judge James Plowman’s ruling that Byron “Tanner” Cross, a Leesburg Elementary School gym teacher, could go back to work.
The school district released a statement in disagreement with the Circuit Court’s decision to issue the injunction and “is appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court of Virginia.”
“[The school] experienced – and continue to experience – significant disruption since the May 25 School Board meeting during which Cross addressed the board. Many students and parents at Leesburg Elementary have expressed fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school,” the statement continues.
“Addressing those concerns is paramount to the school division’s goal to provide a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment for all students. 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 judge granted a temporary injunction on Tuesday and said the teacher’s first amendment rights came before the school was concerned about the teacher’s comments during a school board meeting in May.
Cross, an outspoken Christian, caused outrage during the meeting when he wouldn’t affirm that a “biological boy can be a girl and vice versa.” He was later suspended from his position.
“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,” he said at the meeting. “It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
The judge called out the district for placing Cross on leave just three weeks before the school year was over, calling it “unnecessary and vindictive.”
Cross’s attorney is confident that the judge’s ruling won’t be turned down upon appeal.
“Judge Plowman’s opinion ordering Tanner’s reinstatement was a well-reasoned application of these facts to clearly-established law,” Tyson Langhofer, Sr. Counsel & Director of the Center for Academic Freedom with Alliance Defending Freedom told FOX News. “We are confident that, if the Virginia Supreme Court hears the appeal, it will affirm the circuit court’s decision.”