October 10, 2018 at 11:37 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Stafford schools superintendent apologizes to trans student

health curriculum, Frederick County School Board, transgender students, gay news, Washington Blade

The superintendent of the Stafford County School District on Oct. 9, 2018, said he has personally apologized to a transgender middle school student who was separated from her classmates during a lockdown drill.

The superintendent of the Stafford County School District has apologized to a transgender student who was unable to enter the girls’ or boys’ locker room during a lockdown drill.

The Free Lance-Star newspaper reported Scott Kizner spoke at the Stafford County School Board’s meeting on Tuesday.

Kizner said he personally apologized to the trans middle school student for the incident that took place on Sept. 28.

“We did not live up to my unwavering expectation that every child and adult — regardless of race, religion, color, disability, gender and sexual orientation — is treated with respect and dignity and for that I apologize to the student, the family and the Stafford community,” said Kizner, according to the Free Lance-Star.

The incident received national attention after Equality Stafford, a local LGBT advocacy group, wrote about it on Facebook on Oct. 3.

“The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” read the Facebook post. “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. After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hall way, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.”

Local LGBT activists attended Tuesday’s meeting. The Free Lance-Star reported a number of trans people spoke.

The Stafford County School District does not include gender identity and sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy. The Free Lance-Star reported both Kizner and members of the Stafford County School Board said during Tuesday’s meeting they are open to potential changes.

The mother of a Stafford County Public Schools student who asked the Washington Blade not to identify them by name said Kizner’s apology “is very much appreciated.”

“Words are powerful, but it’s action that is meaningful and long lasting,” she said. “We look forward working with Dr. Kizner and the board to implement the inclusive policies and trainings that were promised.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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