Trans student barred from changing rooms during school shooter drill

Unidentified girl left ‘exposed and vulnerable’ after teachers prevent her from joining female classmates

school bus
(Image credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

A transgender student at a US school was made to wait in a corridor during an active shooter drill, after being barred from sheltering in changing rooms with her classmates.

The unnamed child, who identifies as a girl, was taking part in a PE class when Stafford County Middle School in Virginia went into a lockdown drill.

Her classmates were instructed to take shelter in the changing rooms, but teachers prevented the trans student from accompanying her peers while they discussed “which locker room would be appropriate for her”, according to local CBS affiliate WUSA-9.

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The child “was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter”, says Equality Stafford, the Virginia-based LGBTQ group that brought the incident to public attention.

She was first led outside and instructed to wait on viewing stands by the sports fields, before being brought back inside and given a seat in a corridor - leaving her “exposed and vulnerable” in the event of a genuine threat, says Equality Stafford.

The incident was met with indignation on behalf of the girl separated from her peers and confusion about the purpose of the separation.

“Bathroom equality issues aside, it's unclear why you'd separate boys from girls in an active shooter situation to begin with,” says Vice.

Lockdown drills are increasingly commonplace in the US, which has seen a spate of high-profile shootings in schools in recent years.

Sherrie Johnson, communications director for Stafford County Public Schools, said in a statement that the school board could not comment on individual students.

However, she said that the incoming superintendent “has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect”.

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