Virginia Transgender Student Denied Entry to Both Locker Rooms During Safety Drill

A transgender student at a Virginia middle school was unable to seek shelter inside either of the locker rooms during a lockdown drill. 

Despite identifying as a girl, the student was unable to go inside the girls' or the boy's locker room, but instead, was asked to sit alone on the outside bleachers. 

According to a Thursday report by WUSA, a CBS-affiliated station in Washington D.C., teachers "were debating which locker room would be appropriate for her." 

A Facebook group, known as Equality Stafford, posted about the incident and called for a protest at an upcoming school board meeting. 

"During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable," the post read. "We need all of you to come out on October 9th at 6:30 pm to the Stafford County School Board Meeting at 31 Stafford Avenue. We need you to come and lend your voice to the growing cry." 

Sherrie Johnson, Director of Strategic Communication Stafford County Public Schools, released a statement to WUSA.

"Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information. However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect. We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS."

There have been similar issues in schools previously. In 2015, the Stafford County School Board voted to prohibit an elementary-aged student from using the restroom associated with their preferred gender. 

Though the child was able to use the preferred restroom at first, the decision was later reversed due to complaints by parents. 

The school released a statement to WRC-TV following the 2015 decision. 

"The Stafford County School Board struggled with this difficult decision regarding the transgender student at Hartwood Elementary School. The reasoning behind our decision was that the legal landscape on these issues is unclear at this point. We await further guidance from our state delegation. We are attempting to ensure that the needs of all of our students are being addressed."

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