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School expels teen who kneed boy’s groin in girls’ bathroom protest, Alaska family says

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Many states have legislation pending that would make it illegal for transgender people to choose which public bathroom they use based on their gender identity.
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Many states have legislation pending that would make it illegal for transgender people to choose which public bathroom they use based on their gender identity.

Seven teenage boys tried to storm a girls’ restroom at North Pole High School in Alaska in protest April 4 after a transgender student, who identifies as male, took a Snapchat photo in the boys’ restroom, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

But a teenage girl kneed the boy leading the charge in the groin, ending the protest and, according to her family, resulting in her expulsion, The Washington Post reported.

Now her family and a Republican congresswoman are questioning the decision by the school district near Fairbanks, Alaska, to expel the girl, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reported.

“She is somehow being blamed for this situation when she was the only one where she should’ve been,” said Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, the Anchorage Daily News reported. “If you feel threatened, you should be able to defend yourself.”

Student disciplinary matters are confidential, Superintendent Karen Gaborik wrote in a statement posted online. All eight students in the incident have been disciplined, she wrote.

School officials work with transgender students to help individually determine whether they will use gender-neutral, boys’ or girls’ restrooms, Gaborik wrote.

“Students are not permitted to determine which restroom facility is appropriate for other students,” Gaborik said in the statement.

The transgender student, who was not involved in the protest, is transitioning from female to male and had earlier posted a selfie from a boys’ restroom, according to the statement.

The seven boys decided to enter the girls’ restroom for a selfie as a form of protest, violating district policies, Gaborik wrote. They did not use force or threaten violence, she wrote.

“They were upset about the public nature of the post and how that played out,” Gaborik said, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reported.

After the teen girl kneed the first boy in the groin, the others left, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

A school nurse suggested the boy seek medical treatment, but the extent of his injuries remains unclear, according to the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

“I don’t care why the boys were in the bathroom,” Wilson said, The Washington Post reported. She said she wanted the expelled student and other teen girls to know they had her support.

“I said, ‘Good for her,’ ” Wilson said, according to the publication. “I would have taught my daughter to do the same.”

Some of the students have appealed their disciplinary action, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reported.

The girl’s family declined to be interviewed by the Anchorage Daily News or The Washington Post.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.


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