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 9:34 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."

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Florence
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 94°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Scottsboro
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12486232
Mobile9420204
Montgomery6449148
Madison516130
Tuscaloosa405769
Baldwin338023
Unassigned319060
Shelby316432
Marshall306034
Lee258844
Morgan229517
Etowah204128
DeKalb174513
Calhoun167213
Elmore167238
Walker149864
Houston134812
Dallas130523
St. Clair128915
Russell12772
Limestone126113
Franklin123820
Cullman118912
Colbert114113
Lauderdale112315
Autauga105021
Escambia104416
Talladega96713
Jackson9244
Tallapoosa84179
Chambers83538
Dale80223
Blount7593
Butler75635
Chilton7456
Coffee7365
Covington71620
Pike6877
Lowndes56724
Barbour5655
Marion56224
Marengo53614
Clarke4949
Hale46426
Bullock45011
Winston44011
Perry4364
Wilcox41410
Bibb4134
Monroe4084
Randolph39410
Conecuh37810
Pickens3779
Sumter36018
Lawrence3321
Macon32013
Washington32012
Crenshaw3123
Choctaw27712
Cherokee2587
Greene24911
Henry2493
Geneva2480
Clay2375
Lamar2122
Fayette1835
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 116350

Reported Deaths: 1186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22212300
Davidson20001211
Rutherford629853
Hamilton588449
Knox429837
Williamson340525
Sumner331672
Unassigned30368
Out of TN283116
Wilson219023
Bradley181712
Montgomery181513
Sevier17916
Putnam167716
Trousdale15786
Robertson150619
Hamblen134614
Blount12229
Maury11597
Tipton11559
Washington11312
Madison98415
Bedford90111
Sullivan89512
Hardeman85815
Macon85513
Lake7650
Loudon7053
Bledsoe6861
Dickson6521
Fayette6528
Anderson6516
Gibson6444
Dyer5937
Cheatham5697
Lawrence5276
Jefferson5253
Henderson5172
Rhea5171
McMinn50920
Obion4904
Coffee4823
Warren4794
Carter4735
Lauderdale4558
Hardin4447
Cocke4392
Haywood4356
Smith4294
Roane4232
Greene4187
Hawkins4167
Cumberland3986
Monroe3979
Giles36913
Weakley3633
McNairy3515
DeKalb3312
Franklin3024
Marshall2753
Carroll2723
Lincoln2681
Crockett2534
Henry2480
Hickman2480
White2465
Claiborne2420
Campbell2291
Johnson2250
Wayne2242
Marion2134
Chester2062
Grainger1890
Decatur1883
Polk1853
Overton1551
Unicoi1480
Union1410
Cannon1360
Benton1261
Humphreys1183
Jackson1121
Scott1100
Grundy1082
Sequatchie1000
Meigs990
Morgan981
Fentress790
Hancock771
Perry770
Stewart740
Clay710
Lewis671
Houston560
Moore550
Van Buren350
Pickett301

Community Events