Harrison County B.O.E. moves to reinstate principal accused of transgender discrimination

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WDTV)-- After deliberating in executive session the Harrison County Board of Education moved to reinstate assistant principal Lee Livengood after a period of unpaid suspension where he will receive "sensitivity training".

That suspension will end on February 8th when he will be allowed to return to school, pending he meets four requirements determined by the board.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin declined to tell 5 News exactly what those requirements are, but did say that all employees in Harrison County Schools will receive training to better deal with diversity.

Before the decision was made multiple residents voiced their concerns on the issue of transgender bathroom use.

"It should be just as it was when I was in school, just as its been since the beginning of time...male and female" said Janis Bonnell.

Dr. Manchin met with representatives from the ACLU earlier in the day. Both sides said they were happy with how the meeting went and were hopeful for the future of the school.

The ACLU released a statement in response to the meeting.

“We’re encouraged by the productive discussion we had today with Superintendent Manchin. [The student] and his family were heartened with the outcome of the meeting and are now looking forward to working with the school district to make a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students in Harrison County," the organization said. "Because of his bravery and willingness to come forward, we now have the opportunity to replicate and expand on inclusion practices in other counties across West Virginia to ensure this never happens again to anyone under any circumstance.”

UPDATE 12/18/18
The Harrison county board of education held an executive session to discuss the future of assistant principal Lee Livengood.

Dr. Mark Manchin, superintendent of Harrison county schools, says the board is still deciding specifics, but has suspended Livengood with lay, for now.

"We haven't determined yet on the length of the suspension nor with or without pay. But it appears more and more based on the information that I'm starting to receive, that we need to take a stronger stand,"

Dr. Manchin says during the meeting new information was brought up. He plans on meeting with Livengood before taking further steps.

"New information has now been made available to me, so I will be bringing Mr. Livengood back in for further discussion and taking further action

After the incident at liberty high school the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter reached out asking to meet with the board.

"We are meeting on January 4th...for the purposes of opening up the discussion and perhaps, hopefully mitigate the situation,"

UPDATE 12/18/18
An assistant principal at Liberty High School has been suspended following accusations that he bullied and harassed a transgender student in a school bathroom.

Assistant Principal Lee Livengood has been suspended to allow for an investigation into the incident.

The American Civil Liberties Union says while they are glad action is being taken, it is not enough.

"While we are heartened to hear the administration admit to wrongdoing, a four-day paid suspension of an employee is not sufficient," the ACLU said in a statement. "The Harrison County School District needs to make significant changes to its culture. We look forward to meeting with Mr. Manchin and developing a real plan to ensure that every student is safe."

UPDATE
Harrison County Schools superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin has released a statement in regards to the alleged incident.

"The preliminary information I have received does appear from what I've been able to confirm is that our employee did not act in an appropriate manner, and was not sensitive to the needs of one of our students," Manchin said.

UPDATE
Harrison County Schools superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin has released a statement in regards to the alleged incident.

"The preliminary information I have received does appear from what I've been able to confirm is that our employee did not act in an appropriate manner, and was not sensitive to the needs of one of our students," Manchin said.

ORIGINAL STORY
The ACLU of West Virginia is backing a Liberty High School student who alleges an assistant principal bullied and harassed them in the school bathroom.

According to a press release sent by the ACLU Monday, a sophomore student said they were, "cornered, harassed and intimidated in a public boys bathroom" by an assistant principal on Nov. 27.

The release alleges the assistant principal confronted the student in the bathroom and challenged the student to "use a urinal to prove that he was a boy."