A Washington state school district was put on lockdown Monday after a high school student reportedly threatened to shoot classmates who walked out in support of a transgender student who’d recently been assaulted.
Local news outlet KOIN reports that last week, a student at Kalama High School in Southern Washington state, about 40 miles from Portland, Oregon, assaulted a trans male classmate in a school hallway as students were leaving for the day. The trans student was on the ground, and the assailant repeatedly kicked him with steel-toed boots. The injured student reportedly sought treatment at a hospital and has returned to school.
On Monday, dozens of students walked out in support of their trans classmate and to protest what they say is the school’s inaction in response to homophobia, sexism and, uh, “incidents of Nazi salutes in classrooms and locker rooms.”
It was during the walkout that the student threatened his classmates. The Kalama Police Department wrote on Facebook that a male student told another classmate that he wanted to aim an automatic machine gun at the demonstrators. The witness didn’t see a gun, but still reported the comments to the school. The police said they questioned the suspect and will forward criminal charges to the county prosecutor.
The incident is unfortunately reminiscent of a Wisconsin middle school receiving bomb threats in May after it opened a Title IX investigation into three eighth-graders refusing to use their classmate’s correct pronouns, which are “they/them.” Administrators at the Kiel Area School District moved all students to virtual learning for the remainder of the year. Kiel’s city hall and public library also received bomb threats and police said they’d keep harassing multiple locations if the school didn’t close its investigation by Friday, June 3. The school closed it on June 2.
As Jezebel’s Audra Heinrichs wrote just yesterday, it’s no coincidence that anti-LGBTQ threats and attacks are ramping up during Pride Month. Over the weekend, more than 30 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested on their way to a pride event in Idaho, while in San Francisco, self-identified Proud Boys members barged into a Drag Queen Story Hour at a library. With state lawmakers rushing to pass anti-LGBTQ bills, homophobic and transphobic bigots feel increasingly emboldened to harass and threaten people.