Bullying case at Patapsco High
Thursday, 25 October 2012 09:30

More than a dozen supporters stood outside Battle Grove Elementary School last Friday as transgender Patapsco student Dee faced an expulsion hearing. photo by Nicole Rodman

Fight allegedly involved use of anti-gay slurs

by Nicole Rodman

More than a dozen supporters gathered outside of Battle Grove Elementary School last Friday to support 15-year-old Dee, a transgender student at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts.
    Now in her sophomore year at Patapsco, Dee began to live as a female in the summer before her freshman year.
    Though her gender identity has made her the target of bullying in the past, the altercations did not get physical — until recently.
    Now, both Dee and the student she is accused of fighting with are in danger of being expelled from school.
    On Thursday, Oct. 11, Dee and another student named Brittany were apparently engaged in a verbal altercation when, according to witnesses, Brittany began to physically attack Dee.
    According to one witness, Dee’s best friend and classmate Sean, Brittany began pulling Dee’s hair while calling her a “tranny faggot.”
    Speaking with The Eagle outside of Battle Grove Elementary last week, Sean explained that Dee had begun to fight back when a teacher ran out and tried to break it up.
    According to Sean, the teacher got hit in the crossfire and tripped.
    “They said Dee hit the teacher but she didn’t,” Sean said.
    Following the fight, both Dee and Brittany were suspended, with the school administration recommending expulsion.
    Last Friday, both students got the chance to plead their respective cases before the Board of Education of Baltimore County during hearings held at the school system’s southeast area office, located at Battle Grove.
    During the hearings, the school’s administration presented its case as to why the students should be expelled, while each student and her representatives (parents and lawyers) argued against expulsion.
    For friends and family of Dee, the nature of the attack, and the slur allegedly hurled her way, are mitigating factors in the case.
    According to supporters such as Sean, Dee has been the victim of ongoing bullying at school since the beginning of last year due to her gender identity and orientation.
    While Dee’s parents were present at the hearing last week, they declined to comment on the case pending the outcome of the hearing.
    For its part, the school system is denying that the fight was related to Dee’s gender identity or orientation.
    Speaking with The Eagle last Friday, school spokesman Charles Herndon was able to confirm that an incident involving a transgender student took place at Patapsco High School, but was unable to provide specific details.
    He did note, however, that “there is some misinformation floating around on social media.”
    Herndon explained that “the school has thoroughly investigated the incident and appropriate action was taken as a result.”
    He added that the incident was “not related to sexual orientation.”
    Dee’s friends and family, however, are not so sure.
    “Dee is very easy to get along with; she is not one to start trouble. If anything, she avoids it,” family friend Delores explained last Friday.
    She continued, “Dee is a wonderful artist and just wants to go to school and not be bullied. It’s not fair.”
    The results of the students’ hearings were not available as of press time.