An elementary school physical education teacher in Virginia was placed on leave after an explosive speech in which he told his school board he wouldn't "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa," Fox News has learned.
During a Loudoun County school board meeting Tuesday, teacher Byron "Tanner" Cross voiced his opposition to proposed policy surrounding gender.
"My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria," Cross told the board. He went on to discuss a "60 Minutes" special about the issue.
"'60 Minutes' this past Sunday interviewed over 30 young people who transitioned but they felt led astray because of lack of pushback or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies… They are now detransitioning," he said.
"It's not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready. We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.
"I love all of my students but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I'm a teacher but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it's against my religion. It's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God."
Fox News obtained an email via the group Parents Against Critical Theory. Sent Thursday, it announced Cross' leave from Leesburg Elementary.
Principal Shawn Lacey told recipients: "I'm contacting you to let you know that one of our physical education teachers, Tanner Cross, is on leave beginning this morning. In his absence, his duties will be covered by substitute staff already working in our building."
The principal continued, "I wanted you to know this because it may affect your student's school routine. Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information."
It's unclear why exactly Cross was put on leave. Loudoun County Public Schools confirmed to Fox News that Lacey sent the email.
Spokesman Wayde Byard noted, however, that "the decision to place an employee on leave is not the principal's."
Byard also told Fox News: "The contents of personnel files are confidential under state and federal law. I cannot comment other to say that Mr. Cross is on administrative leave with pay."
The news came amid a raging debate over ideas surrounding race and gender identity in one of the nation's wealthiest counties.
Cross had referred to policy 8040, which required Loudoun staff to use preferred pronouns.
"LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record," the draft policy read.
"School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate. Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy."
Another policy, 8350, stated that LCPS staff "shall allow gender-expansive and transgender students to participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity."
Fox News' Teny Sahakian contributed to this report.