Minnesota School Opens Bathroom Door on Trans Student

· Updated on December 3, 2018

Warning: This article links to a video that portrays a graphic anti-trans incident against a youth. INTO has not embedded the widely-shared video here out of respect for readers but has linked it to provide verification for readers.

A Minnesota High School is under fire after school staff and administrators opened the door on a transgender student while she was using the bathroom.

In a deeply disturbing video published by the student on November 28, Osseo Senior High School staff are seen using a stick to unlock the door while she is on the toilet (INTO has withheld the name of the student because she could not be reached for comment and might be underage).

The student states on the video that a staff member is looking over the stall at her and pans up to show hands over the top divider.

Seconds later, the video shows a stick being used to unlock the door. It appears to show a female staff member unlocking the door with two male staff members behind her, staring at the student while she is using the bathroom.

“I’m using the bathroom right now, and they just violated me,” she says in the video published on Facebook. “They’re some perverts. You’re a pervert.”

A second video posted by the student appears to show her either being removed from or leaving school.

The incident calls into question the school’s compliance with Minnesota state law and its own handbook. Minnesota was the first state to put gender identity protections on the books in 1993. Last year, the state’s Department of Education published a toolkit specifically guiding schools on how to support transgender students.

“Schools should work with transgender and gender nonconforming students to ensure that they are able to access needed facilities in a manner that is safe, consistent with their gender identity and does not stigmatize them,” the document states.

Osseo also has a policy against verbal and non-verbal assault based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

GLSEN, the national organization that advocates for LGBTQ students, has reached out to Osseo staff, the organization told INTO.

“Transgender, non binary, and gender non conforming students, especially students of color, who experience unsupportive and unsafe home and school environments risk falling into the school to prison pipeline,” said a.t. Furuya, youth programs manager at GLSEN. “When students face harassment and discrimination at school by staff and peers, harmful hurdles to success are put into their path, and their capacity to thrive and excel into adulthood is diminished.”

GLSEN reports that the school’s Gay Straight Alliance registered 30 members, some of whom may identify as straight.

Neither district spokespeople nor Osseo Senior High School Principal Michael Lehan responded to INTO’s requests for comment.

However, a spokesperson for the schools told CBS Minnesota in a statement that “social media posts are significantly misrepresenting the incident and that staff works very hard every day to help ensure an inclusive school where all students feel welcome, respected and safe. We wish we could provide additional details about this incident but are committed to protecting the student’s right to data privacy.”

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