Teacher who was fired for ‘harassing’ transgender student is reinstated

Teacher who bullied transgender student to lose his job

An assistant principal who was accused of harassing a transgender teenager in a bathroom in a West Virginia school will get to keep his job following an appeal.

The Harrison County Board of Education voted to reinstate Lee Livengood yesterday (April 29) just weeks after they voted unanimously to terminate his contract.

Schools superintendent Mark Manchin said the decision to reinstate Livengood was difficult and followed “a lot of discussion,” according to CBS Pittsburgh.

Lee Livengood allegedly followed a transgender student into a bathroom

Speaking last month, Manchin said it was not unusual for teachers to have their contracts terminated at the end of a probationary period.

“There’s no other reason other than the fact that we just desire not to have him continue as an employee of the Harrison County Board of Education,” Manchin said last month.

Livengood was initially suspended from the school late last year after he followed transgender student Michael Critchfield into a bathroom.

“Mr Livengood’s behaviour in the bathroom that day was terrifying and no student deserves that kind of treatment.”

– Transgender student Michael Critchfield

He allegedly approached Critchfield in the bathroom, who was using a stall, and asked him why he was using the men’s facilities. Critchfield claimed at the time that Livengood told him to use the urinal to prove that he was a boy.

When Critchfield tried to leave the bathroom, Livengood reportedly blocked the exit and asked what would happen if another boy thought he was trying to check him out in the bathroom.

When he finally allowed Critchfield to leave, Livengood said: “I’m not going to lie. You freak me out.”

Teacher who bullied transgender student to lose his job

Trans teen Michael Critchfield called the incident “traumatising” (aclu)

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Livengood sent the transgender student a lukewarm apology

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complained to the school board on behalf of Critchfield in December which led to Livengood’s suspension.

However, he was subsequently allowed to return to work after sending Critchfield a lukewarm apology which said: “I am deeply sorry for raising my voice while in the bathroom on 11/27/18. I promise it won’t happen again.”

“He shouldn’t be in the same room as Michael, ever. This is was a very traumatic incident,” Loree Stark, legal director for ACLU West Virginia, told NewNowNext.

Meanwhile, Critchfield said that he would refuse to allow what happened to him to be swept “under the rug.”

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In an ACLU press release in December, Critchfield, 15, said the incident with Livengood, which took place on November 27, had left him terrified.

“At the end of the day, all I want is to feel welcome and safe in my school,” the teenager said.

“Mr Livengood’s behaviour in the bathroom that day was terrifying and no student deserves that kind of treatment.”

Meanwhile, the ACLU of West Virginia reaffirmed its stance that Livengood should not be allowed “any contact with Michael or any children.”

“Mr Livengood has demonstrated he is incapable of conducting himself in a professional manner in any environment with students, and he has shown a troubling lack of remorse for his actions,” the statement said.

“We will be actively monitoring the situation to ensure Michael and the students of Harrison County are protected moving forward.”

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