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Letter to the Editor, June 11, 2021: Decision will facilitate the spread of prejudice
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Letter to the Editor, June 11, 2021: Decision will facilitate the spread of prejudice

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Decision will facilitate

the spread of prejudice

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I was disgusted to hear the recent news regarding Loudoun County public school teacher Tanner Cross, who openly states that he’ll never affirm the identities of transgender students, and his immediate reinstatement by Circuit Judge James Plowman Jr. This development is heartbreaking for the students and families who will be impacted by this decision.

As a public school teacher, Cross serves as a representative of the state and is in no position to impose his prejudicial religious viewpoints on the children of Virginia taxpayers. Students shouldn’t fear that they’ll be treated differently due to their gender identity, and trans youth across the country are already facing right-wing, religious lawmakers passing anti-trans bills that will further restrict their rights.

Cross’ suit alleges that he simply was exercising his right to free speech and religious liberty. However, there is a big difference between teachers  expressing harmful personal opinions in their personal life versus twisting the intent of the First Amendment to impose that opinion on the students and families they are supposed to serve. The right to freedom of religion in the First Amendment also includes the right of freedom from religion, which must be respected in a public school setting.

Reinstating Cross signals that this type of harmful rhetoric is OK in Loudoun and will facilitate the spread of prejudice and discrimination. The decision started with a drafted proposal requiring teachers to use preferred pronouns, but it doesn’t end there. It’s far reaching, and I hope that county officials take the necessary steps to better protect their students.

Roy Speckhardt.

Washington, D.C.

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