Assistant Principal At Work After Suspension for Berating, Telling Trans Student to Pee in Front of Him

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday March 14, 2019

A West Virginia high school official is at work once more after a partly-paid suspension involving an interaction with a male trans student.

The suspension came in the wake of an ugly incident between Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee and 15-year-old Michael Critchfield. As the Associated Press reported at the time, Livengood blocked Critchfield's exit from a school restroom during an episode in which Livengood loudly berated the student, suggested that Critchfield use a trough-style urinal in front of him, and then told the youth, "Not going to lie. You freak me out."

Livengood was also not going to offer much of an apology, despite having been required to do so in order to return to work. The apology — handwritten on notebook paper — consisted of two sentences, noted ACLU West Virginia, which took up Critchfield's case in the matter.

"I am deeply sorry for raising my voice while in the bathroom on 11/27/18," the note read. "I promise it won't happen again."

The agreement brokered between Critchfield's family and the Harrison School System included an agreement by the school to implement measures that would protect trans youth, media sources said. Instead, the school put Livengood in charge of the school's lunch hour, which means that the student has to see the same school official every day who he says inflicted a harrowing trauma on him.

"I felt really degraded," Critchfield told the media last November, "and discriminated against."

"After receiving the letter and reports that Livengood was still monitoring Michael's lunch period, it became painfully clear that neither Livengood nor Harrison County Schools were taking any serious steps to address what happened in the bathroom that day," the ACLU reported.

The rights watchdog group has now started a new petition "to ensure that Michael and other students are provided a safe, supportive environment at school.

"Harrison County Schools must take full responsibility for ensuring this behavior never happens again," the ACLU report added.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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