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Oklahoma schools close after adults threaten transgender middle schooler

Posted at 9:50 AM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 12:07:57-04

By Lili Zheng/KFOR

ACHILLE, Okla. – Schools in a small Oklahoma town remain closed Tuesday amid controversial social media comments made about a transgender middle school student.

The closure comes amid comments made by adults about a transgender middle schooler, one reading: “If he wants to be a female, make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick.”

The superintendent of Achille Public Schools says he’s gotten about 300 emails related to this situation and he wants to make it clear the posts on social media do not represent their entire community.

“Our kids, our parents, most of our community is very very good people,” Rick Beene, Achille Superintendent, said. “Most of the people on the infamous Facebook conversation are not even residents of Achille School District.”

The Facebook group in question, according to Beene, is not an official page tied to Achille Public Schools, but a potential for demonstrations after a certain conversation in the group has everything to do with why the schools are closed until Wednesday.

“The thought was for law enforcement that you can have an opposing group that might be here and that could lead to problems so law enforcement asked me if we would shut down,” Beene said.

Following the posts, it did not take long for groups outside of the small town to come to the students defense.

“I can say that if one thing, one positive thing came out of that post, is the exposure of the power of fear and ignorance, and I mean that term respectfully,” Sara Cunningham said.

Cunningham is the founder of the oklahoma city based non-profit, “Free Mom Hugs.” She sent an open letter offering support and resources for LGBTQ sensitive training, something Beene says they are open to.

“I need education, we all need to be educated. It’s certainly something that people didn’t deal with 20, 30 years ago,” Beene said.

Cunningham also shared a message for the family of the student.

“We’re speaking out for you. We love you, we’re celebrating you, and please be encouraged that you’re not alone.”