From masks and other COVID-19 policies to transgender initiatives to Critical Race Theory, local school board meeting chambers are proving to be the front lines in the culture war.
Conservatives seem to realize it, finally, and they just picked up an important win in Loudon County, Virginia.
On Tuesday, a state judge in Virginia issued an injunction against Loudon County Public Schools to prevent the disciplining of an elementary school gym teacher who told the board he could not abide by a new policy that forced educators to call students by their preferred pronouns.
“I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” teacher Tanner Cross told the board last month. “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.”
The school district put Cross on paid administrative leave until it could figure out how to punish him. It ordered him off school grounds in the interim, saying his comments were “disruptive” to school operations.
Then, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious liberty group, intervened on Cross’s behalf. The group argued that the teacher’s First Amendment rights were violated. And Circuit Court Judge James Plowman Jr. agreed.
This week he granted a temporary injunction ordering the school district to immediately reinstate Cross while he pursues his lawsuit against the district.
“The plaintiff’s interest in expressing his First Amendment speech outweigh the defendants’ interest in restricting the same, and the level of disruption that defendant asserts did not serve to meaningfully disrupt the operation or services of Leesburg Elementary School,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
According to Fox News, parents unloaded on the school board on Tuesday. And they heartily ignored the school board chairwoman’s directive to show support for speakers by using “jazz hands.”
“For the members of Chardonnay Antifa, here is your assignment with a copy of the First Amendment attached,” said teacher Jeremy Wright, who once called the board members fascists. “I’m going to leave this here and I hope you learn something.”
Rachel Pisani, a parent of three children, told the board, “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.”
Another teacher, Monica Gill, told board members they “resemble totalitarianism, not the Constitution” by suspending Cross.
Gill noted, “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.”
Perhaps conservatives finally got the memo.
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