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.

[rebelmouse-image 19398241 dam="1" original_size="817x459" caption="Maddie's mom gives an interview/KXII" expand=1]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."

[rebelmouse-image 19398242 dam="1" original_size="758x960" caption="Free Mom Hugs/Facebook" expand=1]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.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

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How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

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