A school shut down after threats to a trans student. Now people are racing to support her.

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.

And the school itself is shut down until Wednesday.

What happened is awful. But now people are racing to support Maddie and her family.

Maddie's mom gives an interview/KXII

The anonymous bullies just ran into a wall of very real people supporting Maddie.

Anyone can be a bully and a coward anonymously online. Standing up for what’s right takes courage. And some of that courage is rapidly coming out to help support Maddie in the face of hate.

"She's an awesome kid,” her mother Brandy Rose said in an interview. “To see any fear in her,I can't explain how bad that hurts me for them to hurt her."

The local chapter of “Free Mom Hugs” and the Oklahoma City chapter of PFLAG have posted letters of support for Maddie. The Free Mom Hugs letter reads in part, "The time is now to say enough is enough. And we will help you."

Meanwhile, district superintendent Rick Beene is making it clear the shut down is unfortunate but part of an effort to protect Maddie against any threats. “Achille school believes that everybody should receive a free and safe education," he said.

Amber Briggle who is a mother to a young transgender student who was thrust into the national headlines voiced her support for Maddie as well, saying, “I just want them to know that they're not alone and it's super scary. But there's a lot more support out there than there are bullies."

Free Mom Hugs/Facebook

It’s terrible this happened. But how the community and country responds could make a positive change.

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.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.