A West Virginia high school assistant principal was recently suspended for four days after allegedly harassing a transgender student in a bathroom last month.
Michael Critchfield, 15, told the Huffington Post that he was planning to leave for a band trip on November 27 when he went to the boy’s bathroom. It was there where Lee Livengood allegedly confronted Critchfield about being in the gendered bathroom, allegedly telling him, “Why are you in this bathroom?” and “You freak me out.”
“While Michael was still using the facilities in the stall, Mr. Livengood came into the restroom and began questioning Michael as to why he was using the restroom,” the ACLU of West Virginia said in a letter to Harrison County Schools Superintendent Mark Manchin, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Shockingly, Mr. Livengood then challenged Michael to ‘come out here and use the urinal,’ if he was really a boy.”
Critchfield reportedly told school administrators before his freshman year that he identified as a boy and asked to use the corresponding restroom. They allegedly denied his request.
The teen’s mother, Caroline, told HuffPost that she addressed the incident to the county superintendent shortly after he returned from his band trip. School officials reportedly apologized to the Critchfields and assured them an investigation will be conducted. However, she claimed she hasn’t heard from them in three weeks nor have they received an apology from Livengood.
Manchin also told The Washington Post that this is a case of the Critchfield’s word against Livengood’s as there were no witnesses last month’s incident. He also said he believes the story has been dramatized in its retelling. He went on to mention that the school district has accommodated other transgender students, saying, “We embrace diversity.”
“While we are heartened to hear the administration admit to wrongdoing, a four-day paid suspension of an employee is not sufficient,” the ACLU of West Virginia said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “The Harrison County School District needs to make significant changes to its culture. We look forward to meeting with Mr. Manchin and developing a real plan to ensure that every student is safe.”
[Featured image: Lee Livengood/Liberty High School]