A Virginia middle school is facing criticism after allegedly barring a transgender student from seeking shelter during an active shooter drill.
Equality Stafford, an LGBT rights group in Stafford, Va., wrote in a Facebook post that instructors at Stafford County Middle School forced the student to sit alone in the gym because they could not decide which bathroom or locker room to send her.
Washington, D.C., LGBTQ publication Metro Weekly reported on the incident, which took place last week.
The other students in her class, following protocol, sheltered in the nearest bathroom or locker room to simulate where they would shelter if an active shooter attacked the school.
“The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” Equality Stafford claimed. “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.”
The student was eventually told to sit in the locker room hallway, away from other students, for the remainder of the drill.
“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,” Equality Stafford wrote. “These events occur across our country right now but this one happened here.”
Sherrie Johnson, a spokesperson for the school, issued a statement on the situation, according to Metro Weekly. In the statement, Johnson said the district does not comment on individual student incidents, according to WUSA.
“The new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect,” Johnson said in the statement. “We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS.”
Equality Stafford is calling for concerned parents and community members to attend the district’s school board meeting on Tuesday night.