It's not uncommon for parents to worry about sending their kids off to school in the fall. These worries normally involve things like getting school supplies, figuring out class schedules, and wondering how their child will get along with other classmates. However, recently parents have been faced with a whole new factor that has been shaking up the country and school systems alike: Safety.
School safety has dominated the headlines recently with teachers learning active shooter drills and parents feeling the need to arm their children with bulletproof backpacks. The new norm seems to be constantly worrying about safety. Unfortunately, shootings are not the only safety concerns parents should be worried about as one Oklahoma school system is coming to find. Last Wednesday, the very first day of school, Achille school system received a chilling report from one parent that other parents had commented threatening remarks online about her daughter.
The comments came from a private Facebook group for parents in the school district. One mother had heard that Maddie, the transgender student, used the female bathroom on the first-day school. From this news, she decided to post in the private Facebook group about how the news had disturbed her.
Maddie has been transgendered since 5th grade and had been using the staff bathroom previously to avoid any issues. However, this recently became a problem due to the fact that Maddie was starting school in a new building and was confused and unable to find the staff bathroom she had been asked to use.
What seems to have been an easily solvable issue has now gained national attention, prompting an investigation into the threats from parents, and closed the school until Wednesday, August 15th.
Thankfully many other parents from the community have joined with Maddie and her mother in support. Community organizers have also created a silent demonstration to be held Tuesday morning in support of the young girls suffering and online harassment.
"People seem to have the idea that violence, threats of violence are something that they can say and then take it back and that it doesn't carry any weight but this is very real thing,"said Ari James, a national LGBTQ advocate who went on record to support Maddie and her mother.
As the story continues to progress, other support groups have come forward in order to provide assistance and raise awareness. However, Maddie will have to attend school again on Wednesday with the other students regardless of their support of her and once again safety will be of concern for her family. It is unsure at this time but the school will hopefully take further precautions to ensure the best possible learning environment for all students who attend Achille. The future of students all around the country seems to be unsure at this current moment but the most important thing that can be done is providing a safe and thriving learning environment for all. Ideally, for Maddie at least, this story will end productively with all parties caring and potentially learning from one another in the hope for the best possible future of the students.
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