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WTOP wtop.com 13 Sep, 2021 18:00 am

Loudoun Co. School Board to codify free speech after courts overturn teacher suspension

Loudoun Co. School Board to codify free speech after courts overturn teacher suspension
After the Virginia Supreme Court’s upheld the reinstatement of teacher Tanner Cross, the Loudoun County School Board is set to vote on a revised policy of professional conduct.

The draft policy, which the board is scheduled to vote on Tuesday evening, would specify that school employees have the First Amendment right to engage in protected speech in their free time, but also reinforces the expectation that employees support the school system’s equity and nondiscrimination practices.The draft policy also includes a section called “Commitment to Equitable Treatment,” which says the school system rejects behavior and language that denigrates or demeans people of protected classes, and that such behavior “encourages discrimination, hatred, oppression, and violence.” While not referring to the preferred-pronoun issue in Cross’s lawsuit, the draft policy specifies in-school actions: “Employees are expected to support the school division’s commitment to action-oriented equity and nondiscrimination practices, through the performance of their job duties in order to promote respect, professionalism, civility and inclusivity for all persons.5 FM In the wake of court rulings overturning the suspension of physical education teacher Tanner Cross, the Loudoun County School Board is set to vote on a revised professional conduct policy for public school employees.

Also in August, the school board voted to pass a measure that would expand the rights of transgender students in the county’s schools.” The board’s Human Resources and Talent Development Committee of the School Board had voted 3-0 to send the recommended policy to the full board for approval.

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