A Virginia School District failed its practice test on active shooter scenarios when it left a transgender girl exposed during a safety drill because they didn’t know where to place her.
Stafford County Public Schools is taking heat for forcing a transgender girl to sit in a hallway late last month, instead of sheltered in a gender-segregated locker room with her peers.
Equality Stafford, a group that advocates for LGBTQ students and staff in the district, first called attention to the incident on its Facebook.
“One student was prevented from entering either the boys or girls locker room while the teachers discussed where she should go,” the group wrote. “The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter.”
Equality Stafford said the trans student was made to sit in the gym and then a locker room hallway, while her peers were divided into male and female locker rooms.
“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,” the group wrote.
Parents in and beyond the district responded furiously. Nearly 50 had indicated on Facebook they would attend an Oct. 9 school board meeting to speak in support of LGBTQ students.
In a statement released to INTO, district Community Engagement Manager Cherice Taylor said the district does not comment on individual student incidents due to confidentiality concerns.
“However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures including security to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect,” Taylor said. “We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS.”
The incident comes at a time of intense scrutiny over gender policing in bathrooms and locker rooms. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education confirmed it was investigating a Georgia elementary school over whether it’s trans-affirming policy facilitated a sexual assault in a bathroom, even though district officials say no transgender student was involved the reported assault. The Trump administration has also rolled back Obama-era rules protecting trans students in public school bathrooms.
In November, Massachusetts will vote on the first statewide referendum on transgender rights. At issue is whether or not the Bay State will keep public accommodations protections for trans people, including bathroom and locker room protections. The vote is being watched as a litmus test for the nation, and advocates fear a repeal in the blue state could signal trouble for trans rights throughout the country.
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