The family of a 12-year-old transgender girl says they’ve had enough. They plan to leave Oklahoma and relocate to a more welcoming place after their child’s decision to use the girls' bathroom drew threats of violence and protests that prompted administrators to temporarily close the school.
Brandy Rose, the mother of the 12-year-old, shared the news on what appeared to be her Facebook profile, sharing the link to a GoFundMe account that had been set up by someone who said they were a supporter who hoped to help the family with moving expenses. By Monday evening, the page had raised more than $25,000.
Quotes attributed to Rose on the page said that she wanted to relocate her family to Houston, where they have relatives, and where there would be more resources for her daughter, Maddie. On her Facebook page, Rose wrote that she wanted to find a place that was more open to people such as her daughter.
She wrote that “while I know the school district here is doing everything they can to help keep Maddie safe at school, it's not just at school that I'm scared for her, and where we would like to move to is much more open to people like my daughter, she'd have more medical resources, and we'd be with loving, supportive family.”
“We've been wanting to move there for years, but it has never been financially possible,” she said.
The story about Maddie’s treatment has traveled around the globe and back. She’s been a student in the school district in Achille, Okla., for about two years after her family had moved from a small town in Texas nearby after she had been bullied, Tulsa World reported.
Maddie typically used a faculty bathroom. But on the first day of school at a new campus for her last week, she used the girl’s bathroom after being unable to find the other one, her mother told local news outlets.
A parent in the district found out and lashed out in a Facebook group.
“Heads up parents of 5th thru 7th grade girls,” the woman, Jamie Crenshaw, posted in Achille ISD Parents Group. “The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY . . . Looks like it’s gonna be a long year.”
The post was later deleted, though images of the comments have circulated widely online. Other harsh comments emerged, as well, including a couple that threatened violence. The school took the remarkable step of canceling its classes on Monday and Tuesday last week, after transgender advocates announced plans to organize a protest at the school.
The fallout from the episode continues to reverberate. Frontier Airlines announced Monday that it suspended one of its pilots, Kevin Bickerstaff, and planned to investigate allegations that he made threats against the student.
“We have long-established standards of conduct, to which all employees must agree to adhere, that among other things require people to act in a professional manner and to treat each other with genuine respect and kindness,” the company said in a statement distributed by spokesman Jonathan Freed. Bickerstaff did not respond to a voice-mail message left on a phone number listed in public records.
Sheriff Johnny Christian of the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office told the New York Times last week that most of the hostile comments had appeared to originate from people outside the county.
Samantha Schmidt contributed to this report.