Just days after Thanksgiving last year, students in Clarksburg, West Virginia’s Liberty High School band were told to go use the restroom before departing on a bus trip. 15-year old Michael Critchfield, a sophomore, went to use the boys restroom, and was soon followed in by the assistant principal, Lee Livengood.
Livengood waited for him to exit the restroom stall. He “kept asking me why I was in there,” Critchfield, who is transgender, told Metro News. He adds that the assistant principal said “I shouldn’t be in there because I am not a guy, and I told him I am a boy, I identify with this bathroom, and it is my legal right to use this restroom.”
As if that were not shocking enough, what happened next is chilling.
“Critchfield said Livengood continued to harass and intimidate him, ultimately challenging him to use a urinal to prove that he was a boy,” Metro News reported.
“He was blocking the doorway so I couldn’t get out, because if I tried to get out through the doorway he was in front of, he could’ve said that I hit him or something and got me in more trouble,” Critchfield said. “I was barricaded in the bathroom for three or four minutes, and then a band mom was coming down complaining that they could hear Mr. Livengood yelling at me in the bathroom from the cafeteria, from the hallways, and some could hear it from the band room. So she came down to see what was wrong.”
Livengood then told the boy, “Not going to lie. You freak me out,” in front of the other students and the chaperone, according to Critchfield.
“I felt really degraded and discriminated against,” Critchfield said, as the AP reported.
He added, “right now I do not believe the necessity of any additional policies or any protections for any students that we do not already have.”
The ACLU disagreed, saying the school district “needs to make significant changes to its culture.”
On Tuesday, the county school board voted to not renew Livengood’s contract, which means he will be out of a job, the AP reports.
Video via WOWK:
Written by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement. Image via screencap