Transgender Student Harassed and Threatened in School Bathroom in Tennessee

Tobi, a 16-year-old transgender student at Siegel High in Murfreesboro, was harassed and threatened while using the boy’s bathroom at their high school.

According to the Daily News Journal, while Tobi was using one of the stalls, a group of boys entered the bathroom yelling slurs and began banging on the stall door. At one point, Tobi had to press against the door with all their weight in order to keep it from opening. When help finally arrived, Tobi was in the stall crying and shaking with fear.

Tobi was given permission to use single-person bathrooms in the school, however, on that day, they were all locked, so Tobi was forced to use the boy’s bathroom.

However, rather than punishing the harassers, the assistant principal at Siegel stated that Tobi might be the one getting punished. According to Metro Weekly,

Sherri Yandle (Tobi’s mother) says the assistant principal who intervened to protect Tobi did not immediately punish those involved, later telling Yandle that a new Tennessee law empowers the students who attacked her son to sue the school if they object to his presence in boys’ facilities.

“She stated because of Governor Lee’s laws that the other students could sue the school if they didn’t like it that a transgender child [was] in the bathroom,” Sherri Yandle said. “I’d like to see these boys held accountable for what they did to my son, regardless of the reason.”

The law in question was signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) earlier this year and bans transgender students from using bathrooms that coincide with their gender identity and forces them to use facilities based on their sex at birth. The bill also requires any school-sponsored sleeping arrangements (such as camps or field trips) to be made based on someone’s sex at birth as well. The bill also allows students to sue school districts that break this law.

Regardless of the bill, Tobi’s mother reached out to the county sheriff to launch a formal investigation into the incident. However, with the conservative laws and mindset of most Tenneesee residents, it’s unclear if any action will be taken.

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