A school official harassed a trans teenager in a bathroom and filed lawsuits


CHARLESTON, West Virginia – A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a West Virginia transgender man allegedly harassed by a deputy director while he was attempting to use the boys' bathroom, the latest in a series of court challenges to school policies applicable to transgender students nationwide.

The lawsuit filed in a state court accuses the Harrison County Education Council of failing to create a safe school environment for teenager Michael Critchfield, the Union said Wednesday. American Civil Liberties in a press release.

Michael Critchfield.ACLU West Virginia

The ACLU said Deputy Director Lee Livengood followed Critchfield into the boys' bathroom in November at Liberty High School and said, "You make me panic." Critchfield said that he had also been ordered to prove his sex using a urinal. He was 15 years old at the time.

"Schools are supposed to protect students," said Critchfield. "I say from the beginning that I am doing this to help other children who are facing the same kind of treatment."

Loree Stark, legal director of the ACLU, called the suit "of last resort". She claims unspecified damages and prevents Livengood from having contact with Critchfield and her family.

The ACLU previously sought policies and training on best practices in the school system to deal with the problems of transgender students, but it was not immediately clear if these requirements were met. Deputy County Schools Director James Lopez did not immediately return a phone message. Livengood refused to comment on the trial.

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