An investigation conducted by the Fairbanks school district has found no evidence of male students threatening a female student during an incident that occurred two weeks ago at North Pole High School.
On April 4, a female student leaving the girl’s bathroom kicked a male student in the groin as he was entering the bathroom, with six other male students behind him. The boys were seeking to enter the girl’s bathroom to take a picture of themselves for Snapchat to protest a transgender student, who is transitioning from female to male, posting a selfie taken in the boy’s bathroom on the same app.
School officials conducted a Title IX investigation from April 4-8, according to Sharice Walker, public relations director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School district. Title IX is a federal law that prevents discrimination in educational institutions on the basis of sex.
“Based on the results of the investigation, school administration issued discipline on April 8 to both the female student and to seven male students involved in the incident," Walker wrote to the News-Miner, in response to an email inquiry. "The male students were disciplined for attempting to enter the restroom. There was not evidence that the male students were threatening any student or using any type of force toward other students.”
Walker wrote student disciplinary actions are confidential and did not give further detail as to the measures taken to discipline the eight students involved. The girl's older sister responded to a News-Miner story on Twitter, stating her sister had been expelled for the incident in a comment that has now been retweeted over 20,000 times.
On Monday, the school district released a statement regarding the event from Superintendent Karen Gaborik, available on k12northstar.org and the district’s Facebook page.
“On the day of the incident, the boys began to enter the restroom. Only one boy actually proceeded past the door frame. The other boys followed behind him and were not yet in the restroom. A female student (not the transgender student) was exiting the restroom at the time the first boy began to enter. The girl kicked the first boy in the groin. The boys turned around and left the area,” the statement reads.
The district initially described the incident as the girl kneeing the boy in the groin.
The circumstances first came to light on April 12, when Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, discussed it during a news conference. Wilson later followed up with the News-Miner, stating she disagreed with how the school district handled the situation.
Neither the girl nor the boys involved were prevented from attending prom, according to Walker, as the North Pole High School prom was held April 6 and the investigation did not conclude until two days later.
Some of the students involved are appealing their punishments, Gaborik told the Daily News-Miner on Saturday.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7572.