As a physical education teacher in Loudoun County, Virginia, I serve a very diverse community in Leesburg. I love and respect all my students and treat them with dignity despite our differences.
My recent court win is an important step toward protecting freedom of expression for everyone. My hope is that it will encourage educators across the nation to freely advocate for their students without fear of consequence. Some Americans have lost sight of the importance of open debate.
The Loudoun County School Board recently passed a policy that forces teachers to call students by pronouns that are contrary to biology and violate my faith as a Christian.
The policy forces me and my colleagues to subject the very children that we are charged to love and protect to a dangerous ideology that could lead to puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and even sterilization.
While the policy was still under review, I took the time, in my personal capacity, to speak at a school board meeting that was open to the public. I told board members that, as a teacher, I cannot lie to these kids—no good teacher would. However, the policy would force me to do just that, and I urged them to rethink it.
Two days later, I got a call to come into Human Resources, where I was informed that I was being suspended for 'disruptive behavior.'
I didn't understand what was disruptive about expressing my concern for my students at a public school-board meeting in the county where I live and pay taxes. I later came to learn that the disruption they were referring to was five parents' e-mails sent to my school complaining about my speech at the school board meeting.