An Oklahoma middle school closed this week after parents used a private Facebook group to threaten a 12-year-old girl who is transgender. Parents referred to the student as “it,” “he,” and a “maggot,” according to Newsweek. They also made threats of physical violence, including castration with a knife.
Yesterday morning, parents responded to the threats against the seventh grader—who is pseudonymously identified as “Maddie”—by staging a small silent rally in support of the girl outside of the school. In response, law enforcement officials reportedly asked the school to shut down for the day out of fear of a counter protest.
Maddie has publicly identified as a girl for the past two years. Previously, she used a staff bathroom “to avoid being harassed,” as Think Progress reports. After the school was recently renovated, though, she had a difficult time finding the staff bathroom. On one single occasion, according to Maddie’s mother, she used the girls’ restroom.
A district parent “found out” about Maddie using the girls’ bathroom and posted their thoughts on a private Facebook group for parents in that school district. Think Progress details the disturbing commentary that ensued:
“The transgender is already using the girls bathroom,” Jamie Crenshaw wrote before misgendering Maddie several times. “We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he [sic] has his [sic] own restroom yet he [sic] is still using the girls.”
Other members of the group piled on with similarly transphobic language. “How old is this thing?” one user asked.
“This thing !!!! I love it,” another person replied. “Got a name 4 it now. Perfect name.”
“This is terrible !!” one user wrote. “Y’all have great kids and a lil half baked maggot is causing them probs. We feel 4 y’all.”
The comments quickly escalated to threats of violence. “If he [sic] wants to be a female make him [sic] female,” wrote one user. “A good sharp knife will do the job really quick.” Said another: “Just tell the kids to kick ass in the bathroom and it won’t want come back!!”
Now that the rally has passed and the school is reopened, Maddie is faced with the challenge of returning to class. Her mom, Brandy Rose, told KXII News that the little girl is, understandably, scared. “These are adults making threats—I don’t understand it,” she said. “She’s an awesome kid. To see any fear in her, I can’t explain how bad that hurts me for them to hurt her.”
There is some good news: the FBI is now investigating the threats against her.