Fate may be decided Tuesday for Harrison Co., W.Va. principal accused of bullying student

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WDTV) - UPDATE: 01/07/2019

The Harrison Co., W.Va. Board of Education could decide Tuesday night whether to indefinitely suspend an assistant principal accused of harassing a transgender student in a school restroom.

A 15-year-old male, transgender student says on Nov. 27, 2018, Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood harassed him for using a boys' bathroom and told him, "You freak me out."

Livengood was suspended with pay after the incident.

Harrison Co. Schools Superintendent Mark Manchin has recommended that the school board suspend Livengood indefinitely without pay.

School board president Frank Devono says countywide sensitivity training is also being implemented.

UPDATE: 12/18/18 4:50 P.M.

An assistant principal at a Harrison County high school has been suspended after accusations that he bullied and harassed a transgender student in a school bathroom.

Liberty High School Assistant Principal Lee Livengood has been suspended with pay for four days to allow for an investigation into the incident.

He allegedly confronted the sophomore student on Nov. 27 with a challenge to "use a urinal to prove that he was a boy," the ACLU said.

On Monday, Harrison County Superintendent Mark Manchin, without identifying Livengood, said it appeared the employee "did not act in an appropriate manner, and was not sensitive to the needs of one of our students."

The American Civil Liberties Union said that 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 group 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."

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia is backing a Liberty High School student who alleges bullying and harassment by a principal.

The ACLU said in a news release on Monday that a sophomore student reported being "cornered, harassed and intimidated in a public boys bathroom" by a principal on Nov. 27.

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

"At the end of the exchange, (the principal) told (the student) in front of other students and a chaperone, “Not going to lie. You freak me out,'" according to the ACLU.

Harrison County Superintendent Mark Manchin issued the following statement on Monday.

"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.

The ACLU sent Manchin a letter on Monday seeking answers and a resolution.

“The fact that this not only occurred on school property, but was perpetrated by a principal at the school is reprehensible,” said Joseph Cohen, executive director of ACLU-WV. “We trust West Virginia schools to care for and educate our children and because of that, they must be held to a higher standard than what (the student) experienced. This should never have happened in the first place and we are certainly doing everything we can to ensure it never happens again.”

As of Monday morning, the ACLU said no action had been taken against the principal.

“At the end of the day, all I want is to feel welcome and safe in my school,” the student said in the news release. “(The principal)’s behavior in the bathroom that day was terrifying and no student deserves that kind of treatment. I’m telling my story so that high school doesn’t have to be a scary place for kids like me.”