A school is getting sued for failing to create a safe school environment after an administrator told a transgender student to pee in front of him.
The ACLU of West Virginia filed a lawsuit in state court against the Harrison County School Board, after months of trying to get the school to do the right thing in the wake of Vice Principal Lee Livengood harassing student Michael Critchfield, who is trans.
Late last year, Chritchfield was using the boys’ restroom after school when Livengood went in there and started yelling at him.
“I saw he was blocking the entrance to the bathroom. He kept raising his voice and saying, ‘Why are you in this bathroom? You shouldn’t be here,’” the teen later recounted.
Livengood told the student to “come out here and use the urinal” to prove that he should be in the boys’ restroom. When confronted by a parent, Livengood allegedly told Chritchfield, “I’m not going to lie, you freak me out.”
That led to the family sending a letter to the school asking for them to take action to ensure that this never happened again. The school didn’t do anything for months until the ACLU went to the press with the story.
The ACLU said that the school wasn’t taking any of the steps it said it would to rectify the situation, like starting a Gay-Straight Alliance, not assigning Livengood to monitor activities Chritchfield is involved in, and developing a transgender student policy that does not involve outing trans teens to their parents.
ACLU of West Virginia’s director Loree Stark said that the lawsuit is “a last resort.” They are seeking unspecified damages and an order to prevent Livengood from contact with Chritchfield.
“What happened to Michael shouldn’t happen to any kid,” said the family’s attorney Teresa Toriseva. “For four long minutes, Michael was held against his will by a man twice his size and who was in a position of authority, who was screaming at him and demanding he expose himself.”
Livengood’s attorney said that he was not aware that Chritchfield had an arrangement to use the boys’ bathroom with the principal.