An assistant principal in West Virginia has lost his job after he reportedly followed a transgender student into a bathroom and bullied him.
Michael Critchfield, 15, is a sophomore at Liberty High School in the Harrison County School District of West Virginia.
He first reported the story of Lee Livengood, one of two assistant principals at the school, bullying him in December.
Critchfield was preparing for an after-school marching band trip on 27 November when he decided to use the restroom before the 45-minute bus ride.
According to reports, he made a habit of checking the boys bathroom to make sure it was empty before using it. Seeing it was empty, he stepped inside. Then Livengood entered and allegedly began harassing him, telling Critchfield he ‘shouldn’t be here’.
Critchfield described it as ‘terrifying’ and ‘traumatizing’.
He and his family began working with the ACLU’s West Virginia chapter. At the time, Livengood only been ‘suspended with pay’ by the Harrison County School District.
On Tuesday (19 March), the school board unanimously voted to terminate Livengood’s contract when the school year ends. His last day of employment will be 30 June.
Over 1,100 people signed a petition demanding the board take action.
‘It’s not uncommon at all,’ said County schools Superintendent Mark Manchin of the termination. ‘There’s no other reason other than the fact that we just desire not to have him continue as an employee of the Harrison County Board of Education.’
The ACLU is still involved and doesn’t believe the work is done.
They published an apology letter from Livengood to Critchfield. It only consisted of two sentences.
ACLU-West Virginia legal director Loree Stark did not approve of the letter.
‘That Mr. Livengood — and any individual or entity that approved his apology — believes that the only problematic behavior that occurred that day was a raised voice is deeply troubling,’ he said.
He also said the ACLU was ‘glad to see Harrison County Schools taking accountability for what happened’, but that more needs to be done.
‘We expect talks to resume regarding the implementation of best practice trans-inclusive policies that will better protect LGBTQ students and create a safer learning environment for Michael moving forward,’ continued Stark.
‘Anything less would be unacceptable.’