Staffers at a Stafford County Middle School made the absolute worst of a bad situation last week when they barred a trans student from proper shelter during an active shooter drill at the school.
According to a Facebook post by Equality Stafford, a local LGBTQ organization, the student was left in the hallway between the boys and girls’ locker rooms during an active shooter drill when staff were unsure which group to place her in. The student is identified with female pronouns in the post.
Here’s what happened, according to the post:
This past week, an incident occurred during a middle school lock down drill in Stafford County. When the drill began, a particular class of children took shelter in the bathroom/locker room nearest them as they were in PE. One student was prevented from entering either the boys or girls locker room while the teachers discussed where she should go. The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter. 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 post called for the community to come out to the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday night. In a follow-up post, the page noted that the error stemmed from the complete lack of guidance or standards for such a situation.
It is important to highlight that the child’s PE teachers are not the bad guys. They are teachers without guidance in a county without guidance for these issues. Teachers are often afraid of retribution by other parents or administration which causes confusion. These teachers need education and support and we need you to accomplish that. 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.
Standards or not, there’s no excuse for leaving a child in an unsafe situation, even during a drill. Splinter reached out to Equality Stafford and the current chair of the Stafford School Board for comment and more context to the situation, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.