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Defend Tanner and Free Speech

Tanner Cross, an elementary school teacher in Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, respectfully voiced his objections to two proposed school policies during the public comment period of a school board meeting. He also shared his belief—and the scientific fact—that there are two biological sexes, and people cannot change from one to the other.

Less than 48 hours later, Tanner was suspended.

But it is Tanner’s right—and every American’s right, for that matter—to speak their opinion at a public meeting. And it’s unconstitutional for the school district to punish Tanner for exercising that right.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to Loudoun County Public Schools on Tanner’s behalf. In response, the school doubled down, stating that it intends to stand by its decision.

So, ADF filed a lawsuit against school district officials to hold them accountable for their unconstitutional actions.

Thankfully, a judge put a stop to Loudon County Schools’ retaliation against Tanner and reinstated him. But his case is far from over.

Will you help defend free speech?

The proposed policies would force teachers to violate their beliefs by requiring them to address “gender-expansive or transgender students” with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex. In other words, these policies would force teachers to lie to students and embrace an ideology that ultimately could harm them.

So, you can understand why Tanner doesn’t feel comfortable with that.

At the school board meeting, Tanner respectfully explained his concern for students who struggle with gender dysphoria but also his concern about being forced to violate his beliefs. As a Christian, he believes that God created two sexes—male and female—and that this biological reality can’t be changed. Tanner also believes it would be harmful to his students to promote an ideology that says otherwise.

The bottom line is that school districts can’t use teachers as a mouthpiece to promote a political agenda that violates their beliefs. But that is exactly what Loudoun County tried to do. And when Tanner used his constitutional right to speak up against the policy, officials punished him—sending the message that teachers must toe the ideological line or face the consequences.

Will you help defend Tanner and others like him with a tax-deductible gift today?

The debate over the school’s policy is about much more than pronouns. It’s about scientific truth. It’s whether the government can force an individual to endorse an ideology that conflicts with his beliefs.

And Tanner’s case is also about our nation’s founding principles protected by the First Amendment. It’s about whether we have the right to voice dissenting opinions to our elected officials. Not everyone will agree with Tanner about what the school’s policy should be. But, in a free society, everyone must have the right to make their case to their elected officials about what the policy should be.

The truth is, Tanner is not the only one who’s taking a stand. There are many other Americans who are being told to affirm or say things they don’t believe—or face the consequences.

You can help Tanner and other Americans like him with your gift of any amount right now.

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