Lee Livengood, the West Virginia high school principal suspended without pay for his harassment of a transgender student, just returned to work and already has landed himself in trouble…again.
Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood landed himself in hot water last November after he followed a transgender student, Michael Critchfield, into the men’s room. There he demanded Critchfield use a urinal to prove his maleness. When Critchfield refused, Livengood remarked “I’m not going to lie: You freak me out” and refused to let the 15-year-old student leave the bathroom.
Critchfield’s parents immediately got involved, as did the administration at Liberty High School where Critchfield attends. Livengood received an unpaid suspension pending a resolution between Harrison County schools, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which offered to represent Critchfield and his family. In January, the two announced an agreement which would see Livengood return to work.
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Now, the ACLU alleges, Livengood and the Harrison County school system have failed in their good-faith efforts to keep transgender students safe. As part of the resolution, Livengood had to write a letter of apology to Michael Critchfield. Livengood provided only a two-line, handwritten note apologizing for “raising his voice,” not harassing him over his transgender status. Furthermore, school administrators have not installed agreed-to policies to protect transgender students, nor have they started a Gay-Straight Alliance for students. Worse, upon his return, the school assigned Livengood to supervise Critchfield’s lunch hour. Critchfield also reports continued harassment and misgendering by faculty.
A spokesperson for the ACLU, Loree Stark, has expressed the group’s ire with Livengood and Harrison County schools, and criticized the administration for not holding up its end of the deal. “It seems to be really clear he is not taking accountability for his actions,” Stark told NewNowNext. She adds “all options are on the table at this point,” when it comes to taking legal action against the administration.