An Oklahoma school district is shutting down entirely until Wednesday (15 August) after parents threatened — sometimes physically — a transgender student.
Parents made the violent and disturbing threats in a Facebook group for parents in the Achille ISD school district. Some of the threats included attacking the student, Maddie (last name withheld for safety reasons), with a knife after she used the girls’ restroom.
While the parent group is private, those who were concerned took screenshots and posted them to the school district’s main page. The parent group and district are not officially connected.
This is the original post.
The post, written by Jamie Crenshaw, refers to the student as ‘the transgender’ and misgenders her.
The comments to the post are equally as horrifying, if not more so.
Parents refer to Maddie as a ‘thing’ and encourage other students physically assaulting her. There are also references to a ‘queer teacher’.
In response to these comments, school authorities made the decision to shut down the entire school district, including an elementary school and high school. Maddie currently attends the elementary school.
‘We are putting in extra measures to help safeguard our students,’ said Achille ISD Superintendent Rick Beene. ‘We appreciate all the concern for our Achille students. Our school is shut down until Wednesday for safety precautions. While I will not go into specifics, we have increased security.’
He continued: ‘We have a very talented staff that cares about each and every student. We remain one of the few small Oklahoma schools to have a resource officer and have had [one] for the last several years.’
According to local new station KXII, Maddie and her parents left their home. They are now staying at a secure location for the time being.
Maddie’s mother further said that Maddie typically uses the staff bathroom. On the first day of school, however, her mother described Maddie as ‘confused’ so she used the girls’ restroom.
She also filed a restraining order against Burney Crenshaw, the parent she believes is leading this discrimination and violence against her daughter.
A reality for too many
PFLAG’s Oklahoma chapter wrote a letter about the situation.
PFLAG is a national organization in the US advocating for LGBTI families and allies.
Lisa DelCol, a board member of the Oklahoma chapter, posted the letter on Facebook.
‘We are writing to you with the assumption that the majority of Achille ISD parents, faculty, and administration are kind, compassionate people,’ the letter reads.
‘However … it only takes a few bad actors to cause significant and lasting damage. And if kind, compassionate people do not act, we are all at risk.
The letter notes the Achille ISD website has an anti-bullying page.
Finally, they ask the leaders of Achille ISD to denounce the comments and ‘walk their talk, and speak directly to their students about kindness, acceptance, and the consequences of their words and actions’.