A transgender student claimed this week to have been barred from using the girls’ restroom at Osseo Senior High School “because I’m transgender.”
The allegation came in dramatic fashion — accompanied by a video taken by the student Wednesday of the door to a bathroom stall being forced open while the student was inside.
“I’m posting this,” the student says in the video as the incident unfolds. “I am so scared and violated right now.”
On Thursday, the district said there was no bathroom ban and that the posting being circulated widely on social media misrepresented what occurred.
“People think the student was barred from using the bathroom. That is not true,” said Barbara Olson, a spokeswoman for Osseo Area Schools.
But the district was silent as to why the door was forced open.
Olson and Michael Lehan, the school’s principal, said they wished they could say more about what had happened — Lehan made his point clear in a written message to families — but added they were prohibited from doing so by the state’s data practices law.
As of Thursday afternoon, a retweet of the one-minute video had been viewed more than 160,000 times on Twitter.
In the video, the student narrates the action as the inside handle of the bathroom stall is opened from someone who is outside the door. No physical contact is made. Later, the student says: “They just walked in the bathroom while I was using the bathroom for no reason.”
In the subsequent Facebook posting, the student wrote: “I Guess I Can’t Use The Girls Bathroom Just Because I’m Transgender. Share This & MAKE IT GO VIRAL!!”
In his message to families, Lehan said that “we work every day to create an inclusive school where students feel welcome and respected.” He added that staff members intervene in the use of bathrooms only in situations such as: “Concern about the safety of students, staff or community members. Illness or health-related issues. Suspected illegal activity.”
Olson declined to say whether adults seen outside the door were school employees.
Asked if there would be a school or district investigation into the incident, Olson said in a written statement, “When issues arise involving students, staff take appropriate actions to review the situation.”