Schools closed after 12-year-old transgender student threatened

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ACHILLE, Okla.  — Officials closed a rural Oklahoma school system this week after the sheriff began investigating what he determined were online threats against a transgender student.

Bryan County Sheriff Johnny Christian said Tuesday his office started investigating over the weekend after adults made threatening comments on Facebook about a 12-year-old transgender girl using a public girls’ bathroom at Achille Public Schools, about 160 miles southeast of Oklahoma City and near the Texas border.

TIME Magazine reported that the parents made the comments on a Facebook group called “Achille ISD Parents Group.”

“Heads up parents of 5th through 7th grade,” Jamie Crenshaw said in the now-deleted post, according to TIME. “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 its going to be a long year.”

TIME said the post had more comments from Facebook users who referred to the student, who identifies as a girl, as “he” and “this thing.” TIME said one person commented that their kid should “whip his ass until he quits coming to school.”

School officials arranged for the student to use a staff bathroom when she was in elementary school, but she was in an unfamiliar building since it was her first week of middle school, Christian said.

The sheriff said no arrests have been made, but the child’s mother sought a protective order against a man who confronted the woman in person. Christian said about 20 teens and young adults gathered Tuesday for a small rally in support of the girl.

The sheriff has also contacted the FBI to help investigate the threats.

“A lot of the negative comments and what we perceived as threats were outside our county and, sometimes, out-of-state,” Christian said. But he added that the man who provoked the child’s mother lived in town.

Classes began Aug. 8, but were canceled Monday and Tuesday after the sheriff started investigating. Schools are scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

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