The mother of a teenage girl who was bullied in school and eventually sex-traffickedis suing her daughter’s school district for withholding the information that the teenage student was identifying as a male at school.
Michelle Blair, the mother of Sage Blair, filed a lawsuit against the Appomattox County School Board and district staff, in addition to a Baltimore public defender for actions that she allege deprived her of properly parenting her child.
Blair now claims that her daughter was severely bullied in high school, which she was aware of – but alleges that the school district withheld information about why the bullying was happening. Sage had begun identifying as a boy at school.
The bullying, says Blair included ‘verbal’ and ‘physical’ assaults, but also included a constant barrage of ‘threats of rape by the male classmates.’
‘Despite this, the school encouraged her to use the boys’ bathroom,’ she said.
Blair previously informed the school that her daughter had a history of mental health issues, including depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and hallucinations.
Even with that information, however, the school opted to pursue a social transition for Sage behind the backs of her parents.
The then-14-year-old girl was allowed to change her name to Draco at school. Her parents eventually uncovered details of the situation only when they found a hall pass in Draco’s name.
According to the Child & Parent Rights Campaign, who filed the suit on behalf of Blair, the school’s decision to withhold information about Sage’s gender identity ‘deprived’ Blair of her ability to ‘exercise her fundamental parental rights to direct the upbringing of her daughter, including making educational and mental health decisions.’
Vernadette Broyles, Blair’s CPRC attorney, told the Washington Examiner that Sage ran away from home because of the bullying and harassment she was facing at school.
Previous reports indicate that Sage first ran away from home the night her parents found the hall pass with the name Draco on it.
‘The school officials were encouraging her to use the boys’ bathroom, even though they knew she was being threatened with sexual assault, so she perceived herself that she wasn’t safe and she runs away from home,’ said Broyles.