Oct. 4, 2022

Contact: Stephanie Gomory, Communications Director, [email protected], 802-223-6304 x111

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The ACLU of Vermont is expressing its support for the family of a student targeted with transphobic harassment from within and outside of Randolph Union High School. After an inaccurate and misleading local media report about the student was picked up by multiple outlets, including Fox News and the British tabloid Daily Mail, the Orange Southwest Supervisory District’s website was hacked and flooded with transphobic messages, forcing the district to shut down its website and social media accounts.

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Vermont Legal Director Lia Ernst:

“Reports of targeted harassment and bullying directed towards a trans student at Randolph Union Middle/High School are deeply upsetting and, unfortunately, all too common in Vermont and across the country.

 “Trans people, especially trans youth, are under attack in this country. That includes denial of equal opportunity to participate in athletics and access locker rooms, restrooms, and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also includes the denial – and even criminalization – of critical medical care, as well as the horrific increase in acts of violence and murders of trans people, especially trans women of color.

 “Let’s be clear: all trans students have a right to be free from discrimination and deserve to learn in environments where they feel safe in their gender identity and expression. Furthermore, it is the policy of the State of Vermont that harassment and bullying, including on the basis of gender identity, ‘have no place and will not be tolerated in Vermont schools.’

 “This incident should serve as a reminder that all schools have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that every student is safe, supported, and fully included in the school environment – and we have a shared responsibility to respond when trans youth are harmed to reassure them that their rights, dignity, and humanity are not up for debate.”