Virginia Supreme Court hands Christian PE teacher major victory after he was suspended for opposing transgender policy
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The Leesburg Elementary School physical education teacher from northern Virginia was handed a decisive victory on Monday when the Virginia Supreme Court agreed that his suspension for opposing a progressive gender policy was likely unconstitutional.
Who is Cross?
Cross first made headlines in June after he was placed on administrative leave in late May for voicing opposition to a Loudoun County Public Schools policy that requires school faculty to affirm far-left transgender policies, such as using a student’s preferred pronouns and allowing “gender-expansive and transgender students” to participate in activities consistent with their “gender identity.”
Cross argued the policy violated his religious beliefs. “It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God,” he said of the policy.
In June, Cross filed a lawsuit challenging his suspension. Days later, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James E. Plowman Jr. reinstated Cross, calling the Christian teacher’s suspension “unnecessary and vindictive.”
But the Loudoun County Public Schools continued to fight, vowing to take the case to the state Supreme Court. The school district claimed “the rights of students to be educated in a supportive and nurturing environment” outweighed Cross’ First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.
What did the Virginia Supreme Court rule?
The commonwealth’s highest court explained in a 14-page opinion that the judges did not buy the claim that Cross “might harm children” by not affirming far-left gender ideas, but did believe the school district violated Cross’ rights.
“Cross was opposing a policy that might burden his freedoms of expression and religion by requiring him to speak and interact with students in a way that affirms gender transition, a concept he rejects for secular and spiritual reasons. Under such circumstances, Cross’ interest in making his public comments was compelling,” the court said.
“Although the Board may have considered Cross’ speech to be ‘a trifling and annoying instance of individual distasteful abuse of a privilege,’ we believe Cross has a strong claim to the view that his public dissent implicates ‘fundamental societal values’ deeply embedded in our Constitutional Republic,” the court explained.
The school district had made three arguments in its appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court, all of which were rejected.
What was the reaction?
Loudoun County Public Schools did not comment on the ruling, according WRC-TV, or the unilateral rejection of its claims by the high court.
However, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Cross, celebrated the ruling.
“Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting. The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found,” ADF senior counsel Tyson Langhofer said. “Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job.”
Cross will now return to his job as a PE teacher, the Washington Post noted.
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Granted Release From Jail During Appeal For Hate Crime Hoax Conviction
On Monday, Jussie Smollett’s lawyers demanded the actor be released from prison after he and his family received “vicious threats” that supposedly raised concern for Smollett’s safety while in jail. This request was granted on Wednesday, allowing Smollett to be released from jail on bond while his lawyers appeal his conviction for staging a hate crime and lying to the police about it.
Back in December, Smollett, 39, was found guilty on five felony counts of disorderly conduct. Last week, the disgraced actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail, restitution to the city of Chicago of $120,106, and a $25,000 fine.
During his sentencing, Smollett claimed that he was not suicidal and that if he dies while in jail, it will be the result of foul play. He also maintained his innocence during his sentencing despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence against him.
“Your honor, I respect you, and I respect your decision,” said Smollett,” but I did not do this, and I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
Only days after being sent to the Cook County Jail, Smollett was placed in the psych ward, which prison officials claimed is standard policy for high profile criminals.
Smollett’s attorneys had insisted that he could be in danger of physical harm if he remained imprisoned at Cook County Jail, claiming their client was the target of “vicious threats”.
“Mr. Smollett has become the target of vicious threats in the social media forums which no doubt reflects the hatred and wish for physical harm towards Smollett which he may experience during incarceration,” the lawyers’ filing said.
Smollett’s brother has reportedly been “bombarded” with threatening phone calls, and the rest of the family has also received threats.
“Mr. Smollett anticipates he will most likely be assigned to segregated incarceration or protective custody, both euphemisms for solitary confinement; a situation which could have extraordinary damage on his mental health,” continued the filing. “As a result, any custodial setting poses a safety and health danger to the life of Mr. Smollett.”
Apparently, damage to a prisoner’s mental health is of the utmost importance in prison now. Jail, of course, is known to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Regardless, since he was convicted of ‘non-violent” offenses, the court is allowing Smollett to be released from Cook County Jail on a $150,000 recognizance bond, which only has to be paid if he misses a court date.
VIDEO: Kim Potter Only sentenced to 16 months in prison for 1st Degree Manslaughter
Extreme Leniency: Kim Potter was just sentenced to 24 months (2 years) in prison with credit for 8 months time served, meaning her sentence is 16 months.
Judge Regina Chu said that this was the case of a “cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm thinking it was a Taser and ended up killing a young man.”
The court approved a downward departure from the typical sentence, as Chu said Potter never intended to use her firearm and the scene painted as chaotic. (guy sitting in car)
By Minnesota law, Potter was sentenced only on the higher charge of first-degree manslaughter. The maximum charge is 15 years, but for someone with no criminal history like Potter, guidelines range from between six and eight-and-a-half years.
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