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: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
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Panola4445103
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Marshall4276100
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Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
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Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
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Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
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Attala213473
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Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
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