An Oklahoma school district has cancelled classes after parents made threats to harm and castrate a 12-year-old transgender student.
The threats, made on social media, were so serious that law enforcement agencies are now involved.
According to the Sherman, Texas-based CBS affiliate KXII, Superintendent Rick Beene of the Achille (Okla.) Public Schools agreed to cancel classes on Monday and Tuesday, at the suggestion of the Bryan County Sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office wanted to avoid confrontation should parents, community members, and outside agitators protest over the transgender student’s use of the girls’ bathroom.
The student in question, known as Maddie, who has been attending school in the district since fifth grade, and has used the staff bathroom at Achille Elementary School during that time.
But her mother, Brandy Rose — who has declined to use her last name out of fear for her family’s safety — says her daughter was unfamiliar with the location of the staff restroom in the district’s middle school building, which only recently reopened.
Because her daughter could not hold her bladder, she resorted to using the girls’ restroom. Rose says her daughter only used the facilities one time — but one time was apparently enough for the lynch mob of parents who took to Facebook to air their grievances and threaten Maddie with harm.
While Maddie was using the bathroom, another student accused her of peeping under a bathroom stall.
“My daughter leans very far forward to use the bathroom,” Rose explained. “I can understand why someone seeing her lean forward would think, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s trying to look under.'”
The gossip mill in the small town began to churn, and a parent complained on the Achille ISD Parents Group on Facebook (which has since been deleted).
“Heads up parents of 5th thru 7th grade girls,” a Facebook user named Jamie Crenshaw wrote. “The transgender is already using the girls (sic) bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY . . . Looks like it’s gonna be a long year.
“We have made school board meetings over this situation last year but nothing seems to be changing,” the post continued. “This is the same kid that got an [sic] trouble as soon as he transferred two years ago for looking over the stalls in the girls (sic) bathroom. Enough is enough.”
Jamie Crenshaw’s post from the Achille ISD Parents Group was subsequently shared on a relative’s Facebook page, which prompted other community members from Achille, southern Oklahoma, and northern Texas to pile on, referring to the 12-year-old as “it,” “thing,” and a “half-baked maggot.”
“Why are parents letting their kids be transgender?” wrote one Facebook user on that relative’s page.
Another responded: “Parents and Churches need to shut this down, the Bible says God created man, and woman . . . not any transgender bs … Hell with new laws and new rules, this is what our future is if WE don’t stop it!!!”
Other Facebook users suggested parents allow their children to beat Maddie up, including one who wrote: “Just tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!!”
A second posted: “If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick.”
A third posted: “You know we have open hunting seasons on them kind. Ain’t no bag limit in them neither.”
Some of those comments have since been deleted or made private, but pro-LGBTQ advocates and allies saved screenshots of the comments.
“That’s a threat against her life–that’s scary,” Rose told KXII. “These are adults making threats against a child. I don’t understand it.”
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that Rose has since obtained a protective order against a parent who has the same surname as one of the Facebook posters. KXII reports that the FBI has gotten involved to see if the comments constitute a hate crime.
Beene, the superintendent, told KXII that there haven’t been any problems with Maddie over the past two years prior to this incident. He added that the school district has no control over what parents post online, and noted that some of the commenters weren’t even parents from Achille.
“Achille Schools and administration take the safety of every student very serious (sic),” Beene said in a prepared statement. “Achille School[s] believes everyone should receive a safe and free education. We have a very talented staff that cares about each and every student.”
Meanwhile, Rose says her daughter, who is usually upbeat, is now afraid for her life.
“She’s an awesome kid,” she says. “To see any fear in her, I can’t explain how bad that hurts me for them to hurt her.”
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