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Teachers to ask court to halt Loudoun County schools' pronoun policy

Three Loudoun County public school teachers are headed to Virginia state court Monday to ask that the school system’s new mandatory policy on pronouns be halted.

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Tanner Cross, a physical education teacher, filed a lawsuit after he was suspended from his job after objecting to the proposed policy at a May school board meeting. Since the policy passed in August, two other teachers — Monica Gill, a high school history teacher, and Kim Wright, a middle school English teacher — have joined as plaintiffs.

The policy requires county faculty and students to use the pronouns that students request regardless of their biological sex.

The teachers on Monday will ask the court for a preliminary injunction that would halt the pronoun policy while the case is litigated.

By forcing teachers to use specific language, the school system is compelling speech among faculty, staff and students, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group representing the teachers.

“Loudoun County Public Schools is persistently pushing radical viewpoints on our children,” said Ryan Bangert, senior counsel with the group.

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“Instead of encouraging our kids to learn about a variety of perspectives, Loudoun County schools are indoctrinating students with controversial and harmful ideologies, and forcing both teachers and students to go along,” Mr. Bangert said.

The school district did not return a request for comment on the case Friday.

Mr. Tanner initially filed suit against the Loudoun board when he was suspended from his job. He has since been reinstated on a temporary basis while the suit proceeds.

Neither he nor Ms. Gill and Ms. Wright had any immediate comment on their case Friday, although all three are scheduled to speak Monday at a planned press conference after the hearing.

Monday’s hearing will be the latest in a series of events that have rocked K-12 education in Loudoun County this year. The policy regarding “transgender and expansive” students is part of the school system’s sweeping diversity, equity and inclusion strategy that has roiled some parents and taxpayers.

Loudoun County’s policies regarding transgender students’ use of bathrooms were said to be at the root of an alleged sexual assault on a female student at a high school this year. In that case, which has garnered national attention, the victim’s father was arrested when he tried to protest about the assault at a school board meeting.

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler, after declaring there had been no sexual assaults in the county’s schools, later backtracked and acknowledged there had been. This week, Mr. Ziegler announced an “independent review” of how the incident was handled.

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