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Trans boy sues school after teacher demands he ‘prove’ he should be in male bathroom

Nick Duffy September 1, 2019

Trans teen Michael Critchfield was allegedly pursued into the bathroom by a teacher (ACLU of West Virginia)

A transgender teen in West Virginia is taking legal action after a teacher demanded he use a urinal to “prove” he belongs in the men’s bathroom.

15-year-old Michael Critchfield was allegedly followed into the bathroom at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia, by assistant principal Lee Livengood

A lawsuit filed in US circuit court on August 27 claims that after pursing the teen into the bathroom, Livengood “began berating him while he was in the stall”.

Teacher allegedly demanded trans boy ‘prove’ gender by using urinal.

When Critchfield explained that he is a boy, the teacher is alleged to have challenged him to “come out here and use the urinal” to prove his gender.

The teen was held in the bathroom for four minutes during the altercation, the lawsuit claims. When the teen left the bathroom, the teacher is said to have followed him and said: “I’m not going to lie, you freak me out.”

Despite an initial suspension for his actions, Harrison County Board of Education allowed Livengood to return to work after sending Critchfield a lukewarm apology which said: “I am deeply sorry for raising my voice while in the bathroom on 11/27/18. I promise it won’t happen again.”

Lee Livengood, an assistant principal at Liberty High School, who was suspended for alleged harassment of trans student Michael Critchfield
Lee Livengood allegedly accosted trans boy Michael Critchfield in the school bathroom.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia on the teen’s behalf, seeks damages and an injunction banning Livengood from all contact with the Critchfield family.

Michael Critchfield said: “Schools are supposed to protect students. I’ve said all along I’m doing this to help other kids who are facing this same kind of treatment.”

The teen “suffered from severe anxiety” at school after the incident, the lawsuit says.

School ‘failed to create a safe environment’.

Loree Stark, ACLU-WV legal director, said: “This action is a last resort.

“Time and time again, we have attempted in good faith to work with Harrison County Schools to create a safe environment for Michael and others like him, but school officials have not taken this seriously.”

Teresa Toriseva of Toriseva Law said: “What happened to Michael shouldn’t happen to any kid.

“For four long minutes, Michael was held against his will by a man twice his size and who was in a position of authority, who was screaming at him and demanding he expose himself.

“We would not tolerate this kind of behaviour from a student, and we certainly shouldn’t tolerate it from an assistant principal, and yet the Harrison County School Board has done just that.”

 

More: school, Trans, Transgender, West Virginia

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