A middle school in Achille, Oklahoma is closed following violent threats by parents on social media against Maddie, a 12-year-old transgender student who identifies as female and used the girls’ bathroom.
Maddie had been using the staff bathroom at her old school but used the girls’ bathroom at the new school because she wasn’t sure where the staff bathroom was. She was then accused of peeping under a bathroom stall. Her mother said it was probably because she “leans very far forward to use the bathroom.”
Then the threats began on a private parents’ Facebook group for the school. The parents called Maddie “it” and “thing”, suggested that her genitalia be mutilated to make her female (“a good sharp knife will do the job real quick”). One said it was “hunting season on them kind” and said there was “no bag limit.”
See the screenshots:
Maddie’s mother Brandy Rose said she fears for her life: “These are adults making threats– I don’t understand it. She’s an awesome kid. To see any fear in her, I can’t explain how bad that hurts me for them to hurt her.”
KXII reports: “The sheriff said the mother filed a protective order against one parent but no other arrests have been made, however several agencies including the FBI are stepping in to see if any comments constitute a hate crime.”
Protestors duct taped their mouths to represent how they wanted to speak using actions and not words. They wore red to stand together in unity.
“We’re not gonna tolerate any threats.”
Sheriff Johnny Christian said Bryan County is working with several agencies including the FBI to see if any comments constitute a hate crime.
He emphasized that a few comments do not represent Achille as a whole, and that many people who commented on Facebook weren’t even from the county.
“Our communities in Bryan County are amazing. They are quiet and take good care of our children. The schools are amazing.”
Police had an area set up for counter-protesters but nobody showed up.
UPDATE II. The school reopened on Wednesday.
UPDATE III. Via the NYT:
Rick Beene, the superintendent of Achille Public Schools, which have about 360 students, said in an interview on Tuesday that he had held a staff meeting after receiving hundreds of messages about the episode.
“What we decided is that we need to be more educated,” Mr. Beene said. “Not so much for anything that we did as a staff but for what we didn’t do.”
Mr. Beene has hired a hall monitor, he said, to help ensure that students aren’t being bullied. The school district has a no-tolerance policy for bullying, according to its website.
“Let’s go back to the basics here — did Jesus want to protect children?” Mr. Beene said. “Absolutely.”