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Transgender student threatened, school closes

School officials in Oklahoma decided to close a public school for two days after a 12-year-old transgender student was threatened on Facebook.

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 9:48 AM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 9:48 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.

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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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