For Proof That Schools Often Fail Trans Students, Look No Further Than This Story
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It’s no secret that schools often completely bumble treatment of trans students. Sometimes it’s ignorance. Sometimes it’s not-so-thinly-veiled hatred. And never is it remotely acceptable in 2018. One of the latest, most disappointing accounts of a school failing one of its trans students happened earlier this month in Virginia.
The Stafford County, Virginia, middle school underwent a safety drill that is meant to prepare students for terrorist events like mass shootings, because that’s the world we now live in. As part of the drill, students were meant to take shelter in the schools’ boys and girls locker rooms.
One trans middle schooler was failed by the school when teachers couldn’t agree on where this female student — and presumably any trans students — should take refuge. While the student should have been instructed to go to the locker room for girls, because that’s how she identifies, keep in mind that neither locker room was even being used as a locker room at the time of the drill.
The story of this school that clearly fails its trans students broke when the queer advocacy group Equality Stafford shared what happened on Facebook.
Equality Stafford Community, This past week, an incident occurred during a middle school lock down drill in Stafford…
Posted by Equality Stafford on Wednesday, October 3, 2018
“The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” the post reads. “During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different. After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hall way, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.”
The organization called on all of the county’s concerned citizens to attend that evening’s school board meeting and voice their discontent with a school policy that is not only nonsensical but could reap irreparable harm on trans students.
In a second post on Facebook, posted following the school board meeting, Equality Stafford stressed that though this school’s currently policy is failing its trans students, education is key to fixing the problem.
“These teachers need education and support, and we need you to accomplish that,” the post reads. “Please continue to support us and this family by highlighting what needs to happen and speaking up about your own stories. Thank you for speaking out for us, let’s continue to do that in a way that lifts each other up.”
Stafford County Public Schools later released a statement of its own, remarking, “The new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect.”
No word on how the school district’s policies regarding trans students have changed thus far.