Metro Weekly

Trans teen attacked by anti-LGBTQ mob at Florida middle school

Chad Sanford, 13, says her life at Deerfield Beach Middle School is a "living hell"

chad sanford, florida, trans, teen, bullying, attack
Chad Sanford, speaking to WPLG (left) and on the floor during the attack (right) — Images: WPLG

A transgender teenager has spoken out about the “living hell” she endures at her Florida middle school after she was attacked by other students.

Chad Sanford, a 13-year-old student at Deerfield Beach Middle School, told WPLG that she has been repeatedly attacked and bullied because of her LGBTQ identity.

Last month, video emerged showing Sanford being attacked while at school. In the video, filmed by a student, youths surround Sanford while a male student approaches from behind, picks Sanford up, and slams her into the ground.

The attack continues once Sanford is on the ground, with the students also yelling anti-gay slurs.

“He just stepped on my face, they were kicking and spitting on me and all that was a little clip of the video,” Sanford told WPLG. “They were screaming. They were saying, ‘We got that gay faggot.’”

Sanford said the attacks have taken place since last year and singled out the student who threw her to the ground, saying the youth one day “embarrassed me in front of everybody.”

“He stood on top of the stage and said to me, ‘I’m going to knock the gay out of him,'” Sanford claimed.

Sanford called the situation at the school “horrible” and said it has “been a living hell.”

“I didn’t even want to live anymore,” Sanford added, “because I felt like, ‘You’re not OK with my sexuality. Why should I be around for you to like me?’”

Sanford’s aunt, Raquel Showers, told WPLG that she has witnessed a change in Sanford since the bullying began, including that she had spoken about experiencing suicidal ideation because of the bullying.

“Hearing that, it just makes me cry,” Showers said.

Sanford told NBC News, “I just kept thinking, ‘Why should I be here? Why are you beating me up for being myself?’ He put me through hell.”

Broward County Public Schools told NBC Miami that it would investigate the incident, calling school safety their “highest priority” and saying Deerfield Beach’s leadership was “taking this incident seriously and is working with law enforcement in its investigation.”

“Any students involved will face appropriate school disciplinary consequences in accordance with the codebook for student conduct,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Tatiana Williams, the co-founder and executive director of Trans Inclusive Group, told NBC Miami that news of the attack took her back “to my own issues that I experienced when I was younger.”

“I think it’s important that we respect people the way we want to be respected, right?” she said. “It just goes back to human courtesy and human dignity, and making sure parents at home are teaching their kids what to do and what not to do.”

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