School official who allegedly told trans teen 'you freak me out' faces suspension

The West Virginia assistant principal allegedly challenged the 15-year-old student to use a urinal to prove he was a boy.
By Associated Press

A West Virginia school board is considering whether to suspend indefinitely an assistant principal for a bathroom incident involving a transgender male student.

Michael Critchfield, 15, said Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood harassed him for using a boys' bathroom on Nov. 27, and told him, "you freak me out."

Michael Critchfield, a transgender student at Liberty High School in West Virginia, said an assistant principal confronted him for using the boys' bathroom.ACLU

Critchfield, who said he was traumatized by the incident, recalled Livengood repeatedly yelling, “Why are you in here? You shouldn’t be in here.”

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Critchfield replied it was his legal right to use that bathroom. He said Livengood used improper pronouns when referring to Critchfield and challenged him to use a urinal to prove that he was a boy.

“I felt really degraded and discriminated against,” Critchfield said, adding that school “should feel like a safe place."

"Kids like me should never have to go through anything like this," he added. "At the end of the day all I wanted was to feel welcome.”

The Exponent Telegram reports that Livengood was suspended with pay last month, a move that was effective for four days until the holiday break.

Harrison County Board of Education President Frank Devono says the board will meet Tuesday night to consider Superintendent Mark Manchin's recommendation that Livengood be suspended indefinitely without pay.

Devono says countywide sensitivity training also is being implemented.

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Brooke Sopelsa contributed.