School closes for two days after threats against 12-year-old transgender student

A rural Oklahoma school system closed for two days earlier this week after a group of adults made threatenin...

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 11:04 AM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 11:05 AM

A rural Oklahoma school system closed for two days earlier this week after a group of adults made threatening Facebook comments about a 12-year-old transgender girl, Achille Public Schools Superintendent Rick Beene said.

The incident began after the student used the middle school girl's bathroom this year at Achille school system in southern Oklahoma, Beene said. In previous years at the district elementary school, she had used the staff bathroom.

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Two district parents complained about her use of the girl's bathroom in a private Facebook group called "Achille ISD Parents Group," which is not officially affiliated with the school, according to Beene.

The threats escalated in severity and number when someone made the Facebook group public, Beene said, and some of the Facebook threats have been traced to other parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

According to CNN affiliate KXII, Facebook commenters called the seventh grader, "it" and "thing." One Facebook poster suggested it was open hunting season for transgender people, and others advocated for the 12-year-old to be stabbed or beaten up.

"That's scary," Brandy Rose, the girl's mother, told KXII. "These are adults making threats to a child. I don't understand it."

The Facebook page appears to have since been deleted. Still, Rose said the comments had scared her daughter.

"She's just an awesome kid. To see any kind of fear in her like that, because other people, especially adults, I can't explain how bad that hurts me," she said.

Decision to close school

School system officials met Sunday night with members of the local police and fire departments, as well as Bryan County Sheriff Johnny Christian, who ultimately requested the school close for two days, according to Beene.

"This was never an issue with any of our kids or school staff, just with this group of adults," Beene said. "Some of whom aren't even in this school district or town."

LGBTQ supporters held a small peaceful rally outside the school, and Beene said the decision to close was made in part to keep them safe if counterprotesters showed up.

"We just weren't sure where some of these threats were coming from," Beene said.

Beene said district officials have met with the transgender student and her mother, and Achille Public Schools resumed classes Wednesday morning.

"We had a great visit with the student and her mom this morning, and she is back in class today," according to Beene.

The student's mother has also filed a protective order against one of the district parents who made Facebook comments about her daughter, Beene said.

CNN has also reached out to Christian, the sherriff, but did not receive a response.

PFLAG Oklahoma City Board of Directors, a group made up of the families and allies of LGBTQ individuals, posted an open letter to the Achille ISD saying group members were "heartbroken, angered and dismayed" by the Facebook posts.

The letter called on the school administration to publicly denounce the Facebook comments and their violent threats.

"The Achille ISD community MUST show that they stand by their stated values by actively and publicly supporting and protecting this family," the letter said. "This should include not just the child but also her parents, who we imagine are also heartsick, angry and terrified for their child's safety.

"That's not hyperbole. That is the reality too many families in the LGBTQ community face on a daily basis."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
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Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
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Simpson295388
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Clay185554
Stone182833
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Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
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Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
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Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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