Pictured – Tanner Cross, the teacher who was suspended for speaking his religious beliefs in public.
Tanner Cross was suspended after speech criticizing school’s proposed policies surrounding gender
The dramatic meeting of the Loudon County Public Schools’ board was full of mic- drop moments and testy confrontations over issues plaguing the school district. Many public commenters either backed Cross or criticized the school board over critical race theory (CRT).
“Where is your regard for our freedom of speech?” asked parent Rachel Pisani, who said she was a mother of three in Loudoun County. “When I saw a teacher express an opinion and suspended for expressing his religious beliefs, I could no longer stay silent.
“When did it become acceptable to be tolerant only when someone expresses a view that we agree with? When did it become appropriate to silence those that hold Christian, biblical views just because you don’t? When did it become appropriate to allow the school board – I don’t know who you think you are – but it is not appropriate, it is not allowable to silence, bully, or dismiss our views.”
Due to a time constraint, her mic was cut off but she kept speaking and received raucus applause – flouting Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan’s request to use jazz hands. After that speech, Sheridan called for a recess and told the audience to find its “decorum.” Amplifying the tension, audience members repeatedly flouting her request, prompting multiple reminders from the chair.
Another female told the board: “Even being threatened with termination for simply speaking one’s opinion creates a culture of fear and silence – and this does not help anyone on either side of the aisle.”
Some educators also expressed concern as they held conservative views on gender and religion.
Teacher Monica Gill told the board its suspension of Cross and other actions “resemble totalitarianism, not the Constitution.”
She added that “first and foremost, I am a Christian. What is most important? We live in truth, not lies. We look at character, not skin color. We love our lord and we love others. Know this – We will not yield. We will not let you have our souls or the souls of our children.”
Cross sparked an uproar last month when he told the school board he wouldn’t “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.”
Just days after that speech, Cross was told in a letter not to come on the school’s premises. The letter vaguely stated the school district was investigating “allegations that you engaged in conduct that has had a disruptive impact on the operations” of his school.