The teen sister of a trans boy gave a passionate defence of his rights to a school board meeting that soon descended into violence.
Hazel Herring, 13, spoke at a school board meeting on a policy that would require teachers to respect trans pupil’s pronouns which ended in violence and the arrest of one person.
She told a packed room that her 10-year-old brother is trans and he has suffered a torrent of abuse at school – being called a sinner and barred from the school bus by cruel bullies.
“My name is Hazel Herring and I’m a rising eighth grader at Harmony Middle School,” she began on Tuesday night (22 June).
“And I’m here today to speak in support of my friends and brother. They deserve to be safe in school just like I am and making pronouns more and more normalised can also help with the acceptance of trans kids.
“Things like putting pronouns next to name tags or having teachers teach students about pronouns make all the difference in normalising it.
“Let’s keep moving forward instead of backwards so my friends and brother feel safe in school.”
The next speaker in the hearing was Richard ‘Dick’ Black, who served as a senator from 2012 to 2020, and who has a lengthy track record of homophobic statements. He said in 2004: “If I’m the last person on the face of this Earth to vote against legalising sodomy, I’ll do it.”
“It’s absurd and immoral for teachers to call boys girls and girls boys,” Black said during his speech.
“You’re making teachers lie to students and even kids know that it’s wrong. This board has a dark history of suppressing free speech and caught you red-handed with an enemies list, to punish opponents of critical race theory.”
He capped off his hate-filled speech by accusing the school board of “bigotry and depravity”.
Trans teens are ‘smarter than any lawmaker’, says mother of trans boy
More than 300 people attended the school board meeting which ended in tumult and one person being arrested. The heaving crowd reportedly cheered at anti-trans speakers and booed those who bravely stood up for trans youth.
Some 251 local residents had signed up to sound off at the meeting, according to Fox News – 51 spoke before organisers shut down the meeting after it slipped into mayhem and violence.
Among them was Hazel’s mother, Kellie, who told the room: “I wanted to take my time to speak to all of the transgender students that go through our halls every day.”
“I know this feels scary right now and that’s because this is scary and you feel unsafe. I want you to know that you’re not alone and we will continue to fight for you.
“The transgender community has been through decades of abuse and I promise you that you will come out victorious. These are your schools too and you deserve to be there.”
Kellie said trans teens are “smarter and stronger than any lawmaker or religious fanatic who’s scared of difference”. Angry cries quickly erupted from the crowd, calling for her to be ejected.
“You are perfect and you are brave and you make our school community healthier, more vibrant and stronger,” she said.
Board vice chairwoman Atoosa Reaser made a motion to end the session following Kellie’s speech, refusing to bow to pressure and not budge on trans rights.
Residents refused to leave the room and one man was arrested, two reportedly received medical treatment and one sustained minor injuries as a scuffle was sparked.
“We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity,” Reaser said during her closing remarks.
“We will continue to work towards making Virginia, specifically Loudon, the best place to raise a family.”