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School bars transgender girl from both locker rooms during lockdown, Virginia LGBT group says

A sign marks the entrance to a gender-neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt.
A sign marks the entrance to a gender-neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. AP

Students in a Virginia middle school gym class were supposed to shelter in nearby locker rooms during a school lockdown — but one student was barred from going into either of those spaces, according to a local LGBT rights group.

The student, a transgender girl, was kept in the gym with a teacher as school staff in Stafford County debated if the girl should be allowed to shelter in the boys locker room or girls locker room, Stafford Equality wrote in a Facebook post last week.

Stafford Equality said the girl had to sit alone “until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different,” because the teachers couldn’t agree on “the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter.”

Eventually the girl — who the group described as “a model student” — was forced to sit in the hallway of a locker room, separate from the other students in her gym class, the Facebook post said.

“During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable,” Stafford Equality wrote on Facebook, where the post has been shared more than 900 times.

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The school district said in a statement that it is reviewing its procedures.

“Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information,” said spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson, according to WUSA. “However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect. We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS.”

The LGBT rights group has called on supporters of the girl to attend a county school board meeting in Stafford on Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. to voice support.

Stafford Equality said on Facebook that the gym teachers at the school “are not the bad guys.”

“They are teachers without guidance in a county without guidance for these issues,” the group wrote. “They were following that they were told to do.”

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