Back to school spirit for the nation was unexpectedly cut short for one school in Achille, Oklahoma as classes were canceled following death threats against a transgender student.
The trouble started when a 12-year-old transgender student from Achille Public School used the girls' restroom. After the incident, the student nicknamed “Maddie” received threats and was bullied.
Strangely, school officials claim that the bullying did not come from Maddie’s fellow students but from their parents who posted threatening comments online.
Maddie’s mother, Brandy Rose, shared that her child had been using the staff restroom in the school for the past two years. This new school year, however, Maddie started classes in a new building. He didn’t know where the staff restroom was located so the transgender student used the girls' restroom instead. The move paved the way for angry comments online from offended parents.
The comments appeared on a private Facebook group page named Achille ISD Parent Group. School superintendent Rick Beene said the page is not affiliated with the school “in an official capacity.”
Someone started the chat with the message: “Heads-up parents of 5th thru 7th-grade girls. The transgender is already using the girls' bathroom. 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. REALLY. Looks like it’s gonna be a long year. We have made school board meetings over this situation last year but nothing seems to be changing. This is the same kid that got an trouble (sic) as soon as he transferred two years ago for looking over the stalls in the girls bathroom. Enough is enough.”
Then messages of support for the call followed, as well as condemnation of the school to allow the transgender student to use the girls’ bathroom.
One comment read: “This is terrible!! Y’ all have great kids and a lil half-baked maggot is causing them probs. We feel 4 y'all.”
Another didn’t mince words: “If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job real quick.”
One wanted to know: “Why are parents letting their kids be transgender?”
Then another message encouraged the transgender to “learn his lesson.” It said: “’Just tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!!”
Rose said her kid already suffered bullying from his previous school, then coming from classmates. She said it was a major reason why they transferred to his current school in the hopes of starting anew. She said she feels bad that it’s now the parents, and not the students, who are leading the bullying against her transgender child.
She accused a couple from the school she already had a previous altercation with for bullying her child as the same people who initiated the posts. The posts have since been deleted.
Rose also claimed the uproar has made her child very afraid. She shared: “Even when Maddie returned home she was too scared to sleep alone, she slept with us for a few nights.”
Beene stressed that the school has “zero tolerance for bullying” and that their priority “is to ensure all kids feel safe in their school environment.”
Classes have since resumed. Officials said the police are still investigating to determine if there is a reason to file charges including potential verbal assault charges against those who may have bullied Maddie.
Rose said Maddie is doing “much better now” from all the love she’s been shown.
It is not clear how the school, however, wishes to proceed with the restroom policy, and if it will take into consideration all feelings and sentiments fairly, including the legitimate discomfort of some parents and students in having a transgender use the girls’ bathroom.
While bullying is condemned in every way, it remains to be seen whether all perspectives and beliefs will be given the same weight and consideration for a just resolution to the matter.