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Reports: Trans Student Denied Access to Locker Rooms During Active Shooter Drill

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Oct 10, 2018

It was only a drill, but the way a trans middle schooler was allegedly left alone in the open while fellow students sought refuge from an imaginary active shooter in the boys' and girls' locker rooms has sparked outrage and concern, multiple media accounts report.

The active shooter drill took place at a school in Stafford, Virginia, on Sept. 28, reported local news station Fox 5. The student in question — who was not named in media reports due to concerns for her safety — had changed for gym class in a single-occupant restroom. P.E. was still in session when the drill took place, but as other students were directed to take shelter in the locker rooms, the trans student was instructed to wait in a hallway, Fox 5 reported.

The Fox 5 article noted that "the staff did not know if it would be appropriate to allow her to go with the other girls into the locker room."

Local LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Stafford slammed the staff's handing of the situation, reported USA Today.

"During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable," the group declared in a statement that was posted at its Facebook page.

The student's mother weighed in, saying, "It doesn't make me confident she'll be safe, should there be an actual emergency," reported the Washington Post.

Added the student's mother, "This isn't on the teachers, and they are not the bad guys. The issue is the lack of policies and training."

School officials responded in a supportive manner, saying in a statement of their own that a review had been requested by the superintendent "of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect."

The statement went on to add, "We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed."

Equality Stafford head Lesley Woods told the media that "The school board is receptive," Fox 5 reported. However, the report added, while many comments left at the Equality Stafford Facebook post had expressed concern and support, some were threatening. That's sadly par for the course; in another case involving a trans student's treatment at school, this time in Oklahoma, a parent's Facebook post complaining that a trans student had used the girls' restroom quickly led to comments of such a violent nature that the school in question had to be closed for two days.

As reported by EDGE at the time, the student, who was new to the school, had previously been granted the use of staff facilities, but didn't know where to go in the unfamiliar building. As a result, she resorted to using the girls' room. The parent in question, identified in media reports as Jamie Crenshaw, reportedly posted, "The transgender is already using the girls' bathroom."

The post then reportedly went on to add, "We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls."

That post was copied to a Facebook account belonging to a person outside the school district, the media accounts said, at which point dehumanizing abuse and threats escalated, with some posts referring to the student as "it" and a "thing." One post seemingly advocated mutilating the student: "If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick." Others seemed to advocate beating the student or declaring "open hunting season" on trans people.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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