The Pickens County Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a Facebook post that there have been reports of threats and bullying. These included a social media post that “referred to individuals that signed a petition making good target practice. Within an hour of the post, deputies were with the student and parents at the student’s home. Following the investigation, the student was charged as a juvenile with Disorderly Conduct,” the post said.
Capt. Kris Stancil, a sheriff’s department spokesman, said the juvenile “didn’t have access to firearms and his threat wasn’t specific. There are a lot of rumors floating around and I didn’t want to give weight to anything not true.”
Stancil said he hopes everyone calms down and gets back to normal. “This is a great community, with great people,” he said. “I think a lot of people are just letting their tempers get the best of them.”
At Monday’s meeting, which drew about 900 people, many appeared to favor having kids use the facilities associated with their birth gender. Some complained that letting students use whatever bathroom they wished would result in chaos.
When Cindy Daniel heard that the school board has reversed the decision, she said she got down on her knees and praised God.
She’s had two daughters go through Pickens County schools and one more in elementary school.
“Everyone’s trying to portray us as hateful, but I’m not prejudiced,” she said. “I’m just worried about the safety of the children.”
Tara Borelli, a lawyer representing the Florida student in the case that could also affect school policy in Georgia and Alabama, said what Pickens County is going through isn’t unusual.
“People fear what they don’t know,” she said, but as school systems across the country have been dealing with this issue for at least a decade, “none of the fears were realized,” she said.
Kino Stanfield agrees. He graduated from Pickens High School in 2017 and began transitioning to male shortly afterward.
“There was no policy or even an issue when I went there,” he said. “I used the bathroom in the nurse’s office, which was in the freshman hallway on the bottom floor. My classes were upstairs, but I made the sacrifice if I REALLY had to go.”
Now that he’s out of high school and can see a bigger picture, he said there’s more bullying in the restrooms done by heterosexual kids against each other.
With a very small number of transgender students at any school, he said the issue has gotten out of hand.
“At the end of the day it’s just a bathroom. You’re in there for less than a minute. Focus on the rest of the school day.”