A high school in Virginia is being sued by a mother who claims they withheld information about her daughter identifying as a male, which in part resulted in her daughter running away and being sex-trafficked. Here’s the full story.
Michele Blair filed a lawsuit against the Appomattox County School Board and district staff, claiming her daughter, Sage, had been transitioned to a male by faculty at the school without her knowledge.
Child Was “Relentlessly Bullied”
The Virginia high school student ran away from home and was sex-trafficked through multiple states. The lawsuit alleges the school district is partly responsible because the child was “relentlessly bullied” due to the school assisting her in transitioning to a male.
They Stole Her Rights as a Mother
The school never told Sage’s parents that she was identifying as a male at school. Michele Blair, Sage’s grandmother and adoptive mother, said the school “stole [her] right to protect [her] daughter.”
She Enrolled at the School When She Was 14
According to the lawsuit filed by Blair, Sage began attending Appomattox County High School at 14 years old, where she “began identifying as a male, going by male pronouns and a male name, and using the male restrooms.”
School Staff Was “Actively Involved” in the Transition
The lawsuit also claims that school staffers were “actively involved” in Sage’s desire to become a boy despite knowing about the repeated bullying Sage suffered.
The Parents Weren’t Involved Until It Was Too Late
Blair said the school “deliberately concealed” her daughter’s gender change and didn’t get her parents involved until it was too late and Sage ran away.
When Sage ran away, she was sex-trafficked and “raped by multiple men for months in four different states,” according to the lawsuit.
Bullied on the Bus
There is a claim in the lawsuit that on Sage’s first day of school in 2021, she was “viciously bullied by boys on her bus.” The boys told Sage she looked like a boy and threatened to rape her “until she liked boys.”
Boys Made Threats
The boys made several threats to Sage that day on the school bus. They threatened to throw her out of the bus window unless she apologized and threatened to shoot her.
She Met With the School’s Counselors
The next day after the bus incident, Sage met with two of the school’s guidance counselors. Sage told them she “identified as a boy” and shared with them what happened on the bus the day before.
The Counselors Kept Her Secret
Despite knowing this information, the guidance counselors chose not to disclose the information to the girl’s parents.
The Bullying Continued
During the month after meeting with the counselors, Sage continued to be bullied by boys in the boys’ restrooms and the hallways. The lawsuit claims that Sage’s tormentors threatened her with violence and rape. Sage was also “shoved up against the hallway wall.”
Sage met with guidance counselors “eight days out of the first 12 days of school” but didn’t tell Blair they were counseling her child about her “gender discordance.”
Sage Confesses to Her Mother
It wasn’t until Blair found a school hall pass with the name “Draco” on it that Sage informed her mother she was identifying as a male at school. Sage also told her mother about the threats and bullying at school.
She Was “Instructed”
Sage also told Blair “she would not have been using the boys’ bathroom” if the counselors had not “instructed her to do so.”
The Teen Ran Away
The same night Sage confessed to her mother, the teenager “suffered a psychotic breakdown and decided to run away,” the lawsuit claims.
She Snuck Out
Sage snuck through her bedroom window and left her parents a note saying, “You’ve done your job. Jesus loves you.”
Be On Guard
In her note, Sage also said she was “afraid” of what was coming if she stayed. She told her parents to be “on guard” because of the “bad people around here.”
Sage Needs Therapy Now
After being rescued by authorities in Texas, Sage was returned to her mother and diagnosed with “Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Her mother said she would “likely need therapy for the rest of her life.”
It Could Have Been Prevented
Blair’s attorney, Mary McAlister, said the whole situation “could have been prevented” if only Sage’s parents had been informed of their daughter’s mental state and allowed to provide the “necessary mental health counseling” when she first began questioning her identity.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ringo Chiu. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.