- Elida High School student Charisma Akroyd claims she was harassed in the school’s bathrooms by a transgender student
- The school’s policy allows transgender students to use the restroom of their preferred gender identity
- Despite warning from the school, Akroyd’s peers staged a walk-out in support of her
Elida High School student Charisma Akroyd said that a biologically male student walked into the bathroom while she was taking off some of her clothes and asked to ‘join in’.
‘I had a hoodie and sweatpants on and I had an outfit on underneath, and while I was taking my sweatpants and hoodie off, this male walked into the bathroom, kind of gave me a weird look, and said he wanted to “join in”,’ Akroyd said.
The school’s policy allows transgender students to use the restroom of their preferred gender identity.
Akroyd’s stepfather, Phil Hesseling, said he approached the school principal, Justin Firks and was assured that the ‘matter would be handled’.
But when no action was taken, Hesseling escalated the situation and spoke to Superintendent Joel Mengerink, who he thought was more keen to avoid a potential legal fallout involving health insurance than take action for his stepdaughter.
The concerned stepfather said: ‘We were very concerned for Charisma and for what was happening.
‘The majority of the people in our district are speaking out and saying [that] this is not right —for [Charisma] to do that. Her mother and I are very proud of her.’
Principal Firks has not yet responded to DailyMail.com’s request for a comment.
While school officials have not taken any action, Akroyd’s peers have come in support of her and staged a walk-out to protest the school policy.
A person who claimed to support the students at the school wrote online: ‘First only a couple came out and told us that the principals said that if they walked out of the building they would get a Tuesday/Thursday school and an unexcused absence for the day.
‘If they wanted to protest they had to do it in the courtyard or the gym. Firks stood in the doorway intimidating the students and they said Larimore told them nobody was outside waiting on them.
‘The few that came out went right back in and went and got the other students from the courtyard and a few moments later we had a group of about 45 come out of the doors at the other end of the school from the courtyard.
‘Later we found out that the school made the ones in the gym go back to class. And that the school stopped a whole lunchroom of kids from coming out.
‘What a shame on Elida for keeping these kids from their rights! And before anyone goes on a tangent about the safety of the kids…..remember the school takes about 100 outside a day during marching band to practice and those PBIS party’s kids earn where they let them all hang out in the parking lot and eat from food trucks is no different.’
Talking about what change she wanted in the school policy, Akroyd explained: ‘I want biological males to quit coming in the girls’ bathroom.
‘There’s been multiple accounts of boys coming in the bathroom, or transgender girls, and bothering the girls in there and we’re just not for it. Biological boys need to stay in their own bathroom.
‘There was a lot of people saying they were going to do it, but they made an announcement probably like five to ten minutes ago and said that we could go to the courtyard or we could go to one of the gyms if we wanted to walk out and not to walk outside.
‘They said that if we didn’t come back in and get a pass then it would be a Tuesday-Thursday or a write-up,’ according to the freshmen.
After the walk-out ended, Mengerink released a statement and said: ‘We are here to see to it our students are educated in a safe environment.
‘Encouraging students to participate in a walkout causes a lot of safety concerns on our part not knowing who’s outside with them, especially when we just experienced a social media threat last week.
‘It also takes away instructional time from our students and that’s what we are here for.’
Board President Brenda Stocker reportedly claimed at a recent forum that the school’s non-discrimination policy keeps districts in ‘compliance with federal case law, established by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ and that ‘violating case law puts the district at risk of a lawsuit ‘that we would certainly lose’.
It is unknown whether the school board has taken any action against the transgender student or whether it will be introducing changes to its policy.