Transgender Student Barred From Shelter During Lockdown Drill

by Jen McGuire

There's one role every adult who has care and control of a child needs to fulfill no matter what. You keep them safe. This is your prime concern in every situation. Everything else is secondary, in my opinion. But perhaps not everyone shares this opinion. This seems to be the message some teachers were sending when a transgender student was barred from a locker room during a lockdown drill recently. Apparently the teachers weren't quite sure which locker room would be the most appropriate for her. Potential safety be damned, I guess.

A middle school in Stafford County, Virginia was going through a lockdown drill last week to prepare students for the horrifying prospect of a potential mass shooting situation or another safety emergency. As a Facebook post by a local LGBTQ rights group called Equality Stafford explained, a young transgender student was left outside the safety of the locker rooms to sit alone on the bleachers, separate from her fellow students. She was prevented from entering either the girls' or boys' locker room because the teachers were busy debating where she should go.

Romper has reached out to the Stafford County school district and is waiting for a reply.

From the Facebook post:

The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter. During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different. After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hall way, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.

In other words, this child was taught her safety was somehow less important because she was transgender. What would happen if this hadn't been a drill and was in fact a live shooting situation? Would she have been left alone on the bleachers?

Mark Makela/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Fortunately not everyone sees the safety of a transgender student as less important than slotting children into gender-specific locker rooms. Local residents will join students and parents to protest this behavior at an upcoming school board meeting, as LGBTQ Nation reported.

As for the school board's response, Stafford County school district spokesperson Sherrie Johnson released a statement:

Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information. 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.

We need to do better. We need to protect the safety of every child, no matter what. The thought of that transgender student, sitting alone on a bleacher, probably feeling embarrassed and afraid and lonely, is simply unacceptable. The thought that she might feel as though her safety is less important than any other child's?

It's unconscionable.