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Oklahoma School Closure After Vicious Facebook Threats Against Trans Student

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Aug 14, 2018

School officials in Oklahoma briefly closed a middle school after a parent's Facebook posting complaining about a trans student using the girls' restroom generated a flurry of vicious threats and abuse, including suggestions that the trans youth in question be castrated and that students at her school be encouraged to attack her physically, a Washington Post article posted at the Brainerd Dispatch news site reported.

The student in question, a 12-year-old middle schooler, had just started classes in a building with which she was unfamiliar. She had been allowed to use the staff restroom at her earlier school but didn't know where the staff restroom was in the new building, so she resorted to using the girls' restroom.

A parent of another student at that same middle school then reportedly posted about the student's use of the girls' restroom at a Facebook page for parents of students in the Achille school district in Oklahoma. The post used misgendering language, the reprinted news article at the Brainerd Dispatch site said.

"Heads up parents of 5th thru 7th-grade girls," the parent, identified as Jamie Crenshaw, reportedly posted. "The transgender is already using the girls' bathroom."

The post then reportedly went on to add, "We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls."

That post was copied to a Facebook account belonging to a person outside the school district, the article said, at which point dehumanizing abuse and threats quickly escalated, with some posts referring to the student as "it" and a "thing."

"Parents and Churches need to shut this down, the Bible says God created man, and woman . . . not any transgender bs," one post declared, while another seemingly advocated mutilating the student: "If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick."

Another post suggested, "tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won't want to come back!!"

News channel KXII 12 noted that one abusive post declared it to be "open hunting season" on trans individuals.

KXII 12's report quoted the student's mother as saying, "These are adults making threats - I don't understand it."

The mother also noted that after the family first moved to the school district, her daughter had been accused of "trying to peek" under the restroom stall, an accusation that the parent who made the initial Facebook post repeated (though the post got the accusation wrong and said the student had tried look "over" the stall).

It was after that accusation that the student was allowed to use the staff restroom in the building where she was attending school at the time.

The virulently hateful nature of the online threats prompted school officials to close the school for at least two days. KOCO News 5 reported the school district superintendent, Rick Been, as saying, "We're preparing for the worst. I mean, that's what you have to do."

Been went on to add, "I don't know who those people are and I'm sure it's being studied with a fine tooth comb."

KOCO 5 also quoted a civil rights attorney, Tony Stevenson, as saying, "This was a crime."

Added Stevenson, "I mean ... everybody has the freedom of speech, but they don't have the freedom to incite violence against children."

The KOCO 5 report said that there was a restraining order in place to protect the student. The order was reportedly taken out against the parent who made the initial post.

View the KOCO report here.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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