Who is Byron Cross? Virginia Christian teacher, 38, gets job back after he refused to affirm trans students

Physical education teacher Byron Cross was ordered to be reinstated after his comments on transgender students.

                            Who is Byron Cross? Virginia Christian teacher, 38, gets job back after he refused to affirm trans students
Byron Tanner Cross from Leesburg Elementary has been placed on administrative leave for saying he will not affirm transgender kids (Loudon County Public School)

Byron Tanner Cross, a physical education Christian teacher from Virginia, was ordered by a judge to be reinstated after being suspended for his comments on transgender students. He had refused to refer trans students by their preferred choice of pronouns because of his religious beliefs. In the ruling, Loudon County Circuit judge James Plowman said the school system's decision to suspend Cross was "extreme and vindictive".

Cross had spoken at the Loudoun County school board meeting on Tuesday, May 25, where he contested two recently adopted school policies. The first required teachers to show respect to transgender children and their choice of pronouns and the second was to allow trans kids in sports in the gender group they identify with, regardless of what was assigned at birth. Cross has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely and it's not known if he'll be paid for this duration. 

Shortly after the meeting, Shawn Lacey, principal of Leesburg Elementary, sent an email to the parents informing them that Cross has been placed on leave. "I'm contacting you to let you know that one of our physical education teachers, Tanner Cross, is on leave beginning this morning. In his absence, his duties will be covered by substitute staff already working in our building," the email said. 


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Leesburg Elementary School (Twitter/leesburg_es)

Who is Byron Tanner Cross?

"I wanted you to know this because it may affect your student's school routine. Because this involves a personal matter, I can offer no further information," the email further read. Cross identifies as Christian and he said the policies "defile the holy image of God" and believed it was "child abuse". In his speech, Cross said transgender students suffered from "gender dysphoria" and said he condemned the new policies which according to him would "damage children". 

"I love all of my students but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. 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 in his speech. "It's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God," he added. 

Shawn Lacey, principal of Leesburg Elementary sent an email to all parents informing them about Byron Tanner Cross being placed on administrative leave (lpcs.org)

Byron Tanner Cross's wife defends Leesburg Elementary 

Cross has been criticized for his opinions locally but he has also received support from certain groups. He has also received support from some parents saying that the school board tries to 'cancel' them if they speak out about anything. They have said that new policies from the school board to promote diversity dampens free speech. 

Cross's wife has lent her support to Leesburg Elementary saying the school's administration is not responsible for placing her husband on administrative leave. "This is specifically a concern to be addressed to the school board and superintendent," she wrote in a Facebook post

Byron Tanner Cross receives support on Twitter

"Public school systems condemning Christianity how sad -Tanner Cross is correct no matter how a person is born female or male they can NEVER change DNA," said a Twitter user. "Good for you Tanner Cross! Parents & Christians need to take a firm stand against this garbage!!" tweeted another. "This elementary school teacher in VA was placed on leave after he gave this amazing speech to the Loudoun County school board refusing to "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa". His name is Byron Tanner Cross and he’s a hero for standing up for kids," read another tweet. 

"Stand your ground. You are the kind of teacher that really cares about the students. Leesburg Elementary teacher Byron 'Tanner' Cross described it as 'lying to a child.' #TwoGenders," another tweet read. "God bless Tanner Cross for speaking out against policies that just confuse and damage young kids...there are exceptions but you are born as a female or male ...God's design...not science..an individual's choice but consider the consequences #godwill #MyBodyMyChoice #rightandwrong," read another tweet.