A Stafford County Middle School has come under fire for isolating a transgender girl during active shooter training last week. According to a Facebook post by Equality Stafford on October 3, the incident occurred during a lock down drill.
“One student was prevented from entering either the boys or girls locker room while the teachers discussed where she should go. The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” it read.
The post goes on to say that she was made to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was over, while “away from her peers and identified as different.”
The post also poses a larger issue: “After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hallway, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.”
Equality Stafford was also clear about how the drill was conducted, and where the school believes the major risk during an active shooter scenario would be.
“Let me be clear. During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable,” they said.
In a later post, the LGBTQ group pointed out that the teachers who led the lock down drills are not the “bad guys” and that they are teachers without “guidance,” scared of potential “retribution” from parents and the administration.
“These teachers need education and support, and we need you to accomplish that,” the post went on to say.
Indeed, Virginia schools have grappled with trans issues for the past few years: trans teen Gavin Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board to use the boys’ bathroom in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Grimm won his case in May of this year, but not without a three-year struggle, which included the school board contesting the ruling.
At a school board meeting last night, Superintendent Scott Kizner said he personally apologized to the teen and called for a change in the school’s policy. According to Fredericksburg.com, Kizner was quoted during the meeting:
“We did not live up to my unwavering expectation that every child and adult — regardless of race, religion, color, disability, gender and sexual orientation — is treated with respect and dignity, and for that I apologize to the student, the family and the Stafford community.”
Kizner was asked whether he thinks the trans student should have been allowed to shelter-in-place in the girl’s locker room during a potential incident. He replied by saying that students should head to the most secure location regardless of their gender.