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DSD was attacked at school

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I just came back home from the hospital with my DSD. Today at school she was beaten up by a group of boys who used many homophobic and transphobic (she's a transgirl, and recently came out as bisexual as well) slurs. She's uninjured, but very shaken. We've called the police about this. Does anybody have any advice for dealing with this?

post #2 of 19


How terrible. I hope she recovers quickly. 


This happened on school grounds? Meet with the principal to find out the school's plans to make it a safe place for your DSD and other students. There should be an ongoing educational component for all students, but also some active tactics in place - anti-bullying programs, a student dispute resolution program, student peer and teacher/assistant supervision/patrols, an emergency plan, parent and community education sessions on anti-bullying and anti-violence....


You probably won't find out from the school administrators what repercussions (suspensions, expulsions etc.) fall on the boys, because of privacy laws. If the criminal case proceeds, your DSD will be a witness. If there is a victim support group in your area, they may help her through the process - explain what is happening, what role she has, what she can expect at each stage etc. She may benefit from some counselling too, for the trauma, and they may help you find a counsellor - or ask at the hospital. 


Good luck to her.   

post #3 of 19

I'm very sorry.


post #4 of 19

I don't know how to handle things at school. Outside of school, I would seek out LGBTQA groups if you haven't already. Your DSD needs to have people who understand her to talk to her. (I don't say that with judgment at all. Even as someone who is bisexual and has friends in the trans community, I would seek out people to speak to my children if they were trans.) Unfortunately the rates of violence against transsexuals are much higher than in the general population, so it's likely there will be people who've dealt with this problem before. Good luck!

post #5 of 19

Oh no, so sorry to hear this! Police was the right action. Also go the the principal... these boys should be expelled. I know they would be expelled in our area schools.


I'd get your DD into a self-defense program. A good program will not only teach you how to protect yourself but how to be aware of your surroundings, what your personal strengths and weapons are, how to make it clear to passerbys that you did not start this and you need assistance, ect. It can really raise self-confidence which can aide in avoiding these sorts of attacks too. A martial art can also be a benefit for long-term protection even if it's just to help her with blocking hits.


I concur with the advice to find an organization in your area that can be both an social/emotional outlet but also a legal one. Many gay and lesbian organizations know how to handle these things, know what lawyers to contact if need be, ect.


A side note, I'd really be cautious with her online presences. Anything said online can be used against her and you don't want her innocent remarks to friends being twisted to defend such actions.

post #6 of 19

police and school board. local and state LGBT groups including legal ones. anti-bullying groups, and if they brush you off, i'd go to state representatives. (if in US). Help her to feel safe, but also to make it clear that this is unacceptable and to set up structures to protect students. don't let anyone brush it under the rug. transviolence is a horrific and prevalent problem as is general bullying of queers in schools. I am so sorry, mama, and I will keep her in my thoughts.

post #7 of 19
It's considered a hate crime. Getting the police involved should start the ball rolling. That's if you're in the states. Stay on top of them and make sure the school knows what happened. If they do not seem to be doing anything let them know you will be getting outside groups involved. THEY DO NOT want that to happen!

Tell her it's their fears. Their closed minded fears! And I'm so sorry she had to go through that. Lots of positive thoughts from us.
post #8 of 19

That's awful, I'm so sorry.  I agree that this is a hate crime and the police should be involved, and to get whatever help you can from LGBT+ and anti-bullying organisations.  The school needs to have structures in place to protect its students and deal with transphobic and biphobic abuse.

post #9 of 19

Couldn't read and not post.  I am so terribly sorry - and as an aside, impressed to learn that your stepdaughter has the confidence to be who she is, and thrilled to hear that she has the support of her family.  You have already gotten some good advice.  I just want to echo the PPs who mentioned that in addition to anything criminal, I think the school should become involved with this in a positive and proactive way. 


Just as I'm sure there are parents and kids who are supportive and sympathetic, I imagine there are people who are confused, frightened and squeamish about this.  It might be a great opportunity to have some honest, open, facilitated dialogue (with the backing of the school) amongst the various community members (students, parents, teachers, LGBT advocates, etc)  - - in addition to the school getting behind a strong anti-bullying policy.  I say this because I think any time the phrase "hate crime" comes up, there are always people concerned about how and whether they may express their religious/moral views without committing a crime, and how all these things interface.  I am a strong believer in respectful dialogue (and people who are feeling strongly about issues can have trouble with the "respectful" piece - that is where the facilitator comes in) to attempt to build some of these bridges.  In the wake of the horrible incident (I am drawing a mental blank on the city) a few years back in which white students hung an effigy of an African American man on the "white student's tree" after telling the black students in the school that the tree was off limits to them - and a group of African American students responded by attacking some of the students (and causing some serious injuries, IIRC), then presidential candidate Obama made a plea for dialogue across race lines.  I was delighted to hear something other than a call to condemn the various players in that sad drama. 


I hope all this makes some sense (sick toddler draped in my lap and working off very little sleep) - my point is just that when something like this happens, there is lots of ignorance, fear, demonizing, and an increase in "us and them" thinking.  I like to think that these kinds of painful situations can also present themselves as opportunities to lessen the distance between all of us, if handled correctly.  Please know that I am not suggesting *you* need to handle this correctly - I really believe this is the school's obligation, and hope the administration will respond with a strong show of support. 


Anyway, good luck to your family and to your daughter especially - if you are able, please let us know how this plays out!

post #10 of 19
Theres a pretty huge difference between words and physical violence. They targeted her and hurt her because of who she is. Because she's different from them. It's a hate crime. I've only heard that term used in situations such as these. When someone is physically hurt.
post #11 of 19

I'm very sorry that you and your DSD are dealing with this, and I hope she recovers quickly.


If I remember right, she's only in Junior High. I suspect that some of the area high schools might have resources for helping. Our local high school has an alliance organization whose purpose is inclusion and openness for gays/straights/lesbians/transgendered, etc. If she is still in Jr. High, check out options for high schools that make a point to be inclusive and then going for Open Enrollment would make sense.





post #12 of 19

I am so sorry.

post #13 of 19

I hope she gets throughthis OK.  She's so lucky to have such supportive parents.

post #14 of 19

I'm so sorry.That is absolutley horrifying.I hope something is done about this asap,and I hope she can feel safe soon.It's wonderful she has you to support her though this.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your support during this time. stillheart.gif


We're taking it up with the school and the authorities. I chatted with DSD not long ago about how she felt about this. Her response, to be honest, scared me a little-that this seemed like a natural conclusion to the way she's been treated, that she gets bullied by almost all of the students, she cuts herself and she starves herself to try get away with it. I really don't know what to do with this information, to be honest.


Linda: She's in high school. In Australia, most states don't have middle school and kids just go from primary to high school. The school year's also more like a normal year because our seasons are opposite to Northern Hemisphere seasons. We're moving pretty soon and have plans to begin unschooling when we move, which none of the girls can wait for. Here's hoping they do their work!

post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by kylie1 View Post

Thank you all for your support during this time. stillheart.gif


We're taking it up with the school and the authorities. I chatted with DSD not long ago about how she felt about this. Her response, to be honest, scared me a little-that this seemed like a natural conclusion to the way she's been treated, that she gets bullied by almost all of the students, she cuts herself and she starves herself to try get away with it. I really don't know what to do with this information, to be honest.



Do you have access to a good therapist/mental health care?  The self injurious behavior is a big red flag.  I think your worry is justified.  I feel so badly reading this.


post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

We've been searching for a therapist for a while. She saw one once, but it didn't work out for her. I really don't know what to do. I'm pretty afraid for her. She's so smart and seems so happy, and it pains me to think she's been going through this for a while and hiding it from us.

post #18 of 19

Self injury is very hard to deal with.I'm a self injurer,still at 34,I haven't done it in a long time,but I still have the urges and honestly I still have a pack of razors in my dresser drawer,that I haven't been able to bring myself to throw away.But,I didn't have much support,if any when I was a teen.When things were rough for me in school(not even close to what she has experienced),no one helped me,I stopped going and all that was done was I was sent into the court system and threatened over and over with training school,punishments from my parents,etc.No one looked at WHY things were happening with me.I still have a lot of issues now,but I have a wonderful therapist who is there to listen to me,and help me talk through things instead of internalizing them and taking out the anger and hurt on myself.


Thankfully she has support,and with the right therapy she should do well.There are many wonderful therapists,you may have to try a few to get the right one for her.There are many websites and books devoted to self injury as well,which can help both of you understand what is going on.All my links are on my old computer which is infected with a virus,so I don't know them off hand,but I'm sure a google search will point you in the right direction.I'm so sorry she is going through this.Hopefully moving and unschooling will help,I'm sure something like that would have helped me very much.The fact that she told you is a huge sign that she trusts you,and that she wants help.I didn't tell my parents until I was hospitalized at the age of 31.Even then they still didn't understand,and it's never been brought up again.I hope everything works out for your family.Just being there to talk with her will help her so much.hug.gif

post #19 of 19

There are a couple books on 'cutting' you should be able to get.

A bright Red Scream


Skin Game





This link will take you to many more books

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