V’ville student in trouble for anti-gay tweets

VOORHEESVILLE – An already-suspended Voorheesville middle-school student may be in trouble again for social-media posts that depicted hatred of homosexuals, according to Albany County Sheriff's Chief Deputy William Rice.

The student, who had also tweeted his support for President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association, has had behavioral problems in the past as well as previous issues with transgender students in the school, Rice said.

The school is not releasing the student’s name.

A transgender student, Rice said, alerted authorities of the tweets, which had been posted this past weekend.

After this article was posted online, The Enterprise received a message from the mother of the student who was the target of the tweets, who said of her daughter: “I wanted to set the record straight that, although she has a boy’s haircut and she wears boys’ clothes, she is not transgender; she does identify as gay.”

The student who made the posts is currently suspended for unrelated issues that occurred last week, Rice said, and was due at school on Monday with his parents for a meeting about what happened over the weekend.

Parents were alerted about the incident on Monday morning by the district’s School News Notifier system.

The Enterprise contacted Superintendent Brian Hunt to find out if any action had taken place, and was told by Hunt that he could not discuss an individual student’s discipline with anyone other than a parent or guardian because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records.

Hunt said that there was “an increased police presence” at the school on Monday, but said there was not a concern that an incident might take place.

According to Voorheesville Central School District’s policy manual: “Harassment, hazing, or bullying that takes place at locations outside of school grounds which can be reasonably expected to materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school or impinge on the rights of other students are prohibited, and may be subject to disciplinary consequences.”

This is a change from the cyberbullying policy the district first adopted a decade ago that limited the prohibition of electronic threats or intimidation to that occurring on school grounds, school buses, or during school-sponsored activities.

Updated on June 6, 2018: Information from the mother of the girl who was targeted, stating that she identified as gay rather than transgender, was added.

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