A school in Oklahoma is shut down for two days after threats were made against a 12-year-old student.
Achille School is not normally in the news. After all, the small town is only home to around 500 people.
That changed after reports that some parents have allegedly made threats against a 7th grade student named “Maddie” that included references to assault with a knife and encouraging other students to physically assault her.
Maddie is a transgender girl. When she moved to Achille school, a student complained about her using the girls restroom. To avoid any confusion, her mom says she has been using a school staff restroom for the past two years.
However, the school recently moved buildings and it was the first day back in class after summer break. After a miscommunication (no one had told her where the new stuff restroom was located) Maddie used a girls restroom a single time.
Unsurprisingly, nothing bad happened. There was no “incident.”
However, after word got out, some parents on a Facebook message board for the school began making threats against the young girl. The threats escalated to the point where the FBI is investigating the response as a potential hate crime.
What happened is awful. But now people are racing to support Maddie and her family.
Photo by Derek R. Henkle/Getty Images.
Like any other child, Maddie should be free to learn, grow and just exist without having to live in fear of violence of discrimination from adults in her community.
It’s horrifying to see parents reduced to the level of threatening a child.
But it’s also important to recognize how people are bravely rising up to defend Maddie as well.
Other courageous individuals, like the state’s first open transgender police officer, are using the moment to speak up about trans rights and the larger, still ongoing fight for true LGBTQ equlity.
Keeping Maddie safe is the first priority. But it’s everything that happens next where we can all make a real difference.