Success! Principal Who Harassed Trans Student Finally Gets What He Deserves

When Michael Critchfield — a sophomore at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia — went to use the restroom before departing for a band event, he had no idea the terror awaiting him.

It’s outrageous that anybody would be forced to have anxiety about using the restroom, but that is the reality for countless trans people like Critchfield, who want to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. And for Critchfield, using the restroom came with a bit of a routine: He often would check to see whether anyone was inside before going in himself.

But when Critchfield was relieving himself on Nov. 27, 2018, before an hour-long drive to a band event, someone was looking to disrupt him. As he was in the stall, he heard Assistant Principal Lee Livengood call out and ask whether anyone was in the restroom. Critchfield responded that he was, and Livengood waited. Then, Critchfield exited the stall, and Livengood immediately berated him.

“He kept asking me why I was in there,” Critchfield told MetroNews. “(He said) I shouldn’t be in there because I am not a guy, and I told him I am a boy, I identify with this bathroom, and it is my legal right to use this restroom.”

Livengood blocked the exit and continued to taunt Critchfield. According to MetroNews, he told Critchfield that if he wanted to “prove” he was actually a boy, he should use the urinal.

“He was blocking the doorway so I couldn’t get out because if I tried to get out through the doorway he was in front of, he could’ve said that I hit him or something and got me in more trouble,” Critchfield told MetroNews. “I was barricaded in the bathroom for three or four minutes, and then a band mom was coming down complaining that they could hear Mr. Livengood yelling at me in the bathroom from the cafeteria, from the hallways, and some could hear it from the band room so she came down to see what was wrong.”

Then, Critchfield said Livengood ended the confrontation by telling him in front of students and parents, “Not going to lie. You freak me out.”

Around the world, people were outraged by what had happened to Critchfield. The ACLU of West Virginia got involved and put together demands in response to the discrimination. Unfortunately, the initial response of higher-ups in the school district was merely a slap on the wrist. Livengood was suspended with pay for a week while an investigation took place.

That’s when activists over here at Care2 started a petition calling on the school district to fire Livengood. Thousands of people signed, and they were finally heard when the school district declined to renew Livengood’s contract.

While this is great news — and should be a relief to Critchfield and other LGBQT+ students — it wasn’t the wave of change that we might’ve all hoped for. And it’s clear there is much still to be done.

When commenting on the termination, the county schools superintendent didn’t give any real explanation as to why Livengood was let go. “It’s not uncommon at all [not to renew a contract],” he said, according to the Associated Press. “There’s no other reason other than the fact that we just desire not to have him continue as an employee of the Harrison County Board of Education.”

It would’ve brought a much more positive change to hear officials cite Livengood’s discriminatory, aggressive behavior as the reason for his sacking. Unfortunately, we’ll have to settle for being happy that this hostile man is no longer in a position of authority over children.

Image credit: Martin Wahlborg/Getty Images

94 comments

Holly H
Holly H7 days ago

Parents tend to dislike bullies esp if their children might fall victim. If they learn that a teacher or administrator partakes in it they can become outrageand will generate lots of bad publicity for that school district. Keep tabs on the former principal's whereabouts and happenings

SEND
Holly H
Holly H7 days ago

I'm happy to.know that person who was in position of authority is no longe in that school district. However, from what I understand, he still may be able to inflict his bigotry and bias on other unfortunate students in another school district. Since they apparently didn't suspend his teaching licenseband the only so-called "punishment" he received was a refusal to renew his contract, (with no reason given) it's up to people like us to make sure his bullying mentality and prejudice follows him wherever he goes!

SEND
Hannah A
Hannah A12 days ago

thank you

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer14 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Carole R
Carole R15 days ago

Karma gonna get ya!

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer16 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A16 days ago

thanks for sharing. Happy to read that he got his just deserts.

SEND
Julia R
Julia R17 days ago

So Karma finally caught up! Just remember that when you discriminate against people who might have a different lifestyle than you and purposely try to hurt others, that Karma even though it may take a while will finally catch up to you!

SEND
janis k
janis keller17 days ago

Good! TRANS PEOPLE HAVE A HARD ENOUGH TIME

SEND
Coo R
Coo R17 days ago

Great

SEND