A Virginia judge ordered the reinstatement of an elementary school teacher Tuesday after he was suspended for refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns. Byron “Tanner” Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, sued the Loudoun County school district over his suspension last month, saying it violated his First Amendment rights and religious beliefs. He claimed the district’s policy, which requires teachers to address students by their stated pronouns, is an “abuse of a child” and that the district “crossed a line” by suspending him. Judge James E. Plowman Jr. wrote that Cross’ “speech and religious content are central” to the case and that the school could not suspend him prior to the case going to trial. It also lifted a ban on Cross from entering any Loudoun County school building.
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