The family of a trans student in West Virginia have contacted the American Civil Liberties Union after their son was harassed in a school bathroom by the assistant principal. The ACLU then contacted the Harrison County Board of Education for action to be taken.
The student had entered the boy’s bathroom but was followed by the assistant principal. In an interview with local television news Wave3, ACLU spokesperson Joseph Cohen described the events: “He mis-gendered him, at one point challenged him to come out and use a urinal, essentially to prove that he was a boy. When he came out of the stall, the principal was standing in front of the exit, essentially blocking him in so he could not leave.”
Cohen continued: “More than 50 percent of male trans teens attempt suicide. This really is a life or death issue and it’s time that West Virginia schools take LGBTQ issues seriously.”
In response, School Superintendent Mark Manchin stated: “It does appear from what I’ve been able to confirm is that our employee did not act in an appropriate manner, and was not sensitive to the needs of one of our students. Everybody has certain rights and also responsibilities, and we certainly take this very, very seriously to ensure all of our children are treated fairly and equitably.” It was reported the assistant principal has yet to be disciplined for their actions.
In a press release, the student involved said: “All I want is to feel welcome and safe in my school. [The assistant principal’s] behavior in the bathroom that day was terrifying and no student deserves that kind of treatment. I’m telling my story so that high school doesn’t have to be a scary place for kids like me.”
There seems to be a non stop barrage of stories emerging in the US regarding the bathroom rights of trans students. A story in August concerned a school in Oklahoma forced to temporarily close after the discovery of a Facebook page where school parents threatened a 12 year-old trans student for using a bathroom, with one commenter suggesting castration. In recent weeks, a video featuring school staff forcing open a cubicle door while a trans student was inside went viral.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.