Lawmaker Clashes With School Over Reports Of Transgender Rape

Rep. Randy Fine is clashing with school officials over claims that parents have told him a transgender students raped a girl in the restroom.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Randy Fine

There is no end in sight to the great debate about transgender students and school bathroom rights. Many conservative families and lawmakers vehemently oppose school rules that allow transgender females entry into girls’ restrooms. They fear that these measures place natural-born females at a higher risk of assault. Randy Fine, a Republican State Rep. from Florida is now fervently fighting for the notion of these families, as he clashes with a school over reports of sexual assault from a transgender student in a school bathroom.

On Thursday, August 11, Florida Rep. Randy Fine fueled discourse against Bevard Public Schools in Melbourne, Florida. He took to Twitter to share his allegations that the district’s open bathroom policy had allowed a transgender female to rape another female student in a Johnson Middle School bathroom. Requesting a police investigation, the state Rep. asserted that the allegations came from concerned parents who had learned of the alleged incident. However, the district strictly denies any factuality to the claims, calling them “baseless.” 

In the letter Randy Fine sent to the Florida Education Commissioner, Manny Diaz, the 48-year-old politician claimed that several parents from the school had alerted him of the alleged rape perpetrated by a transgender student. Speaking directly with The Associated Press, the state rep. added that several parents had told him they had learned of this claim from a teacher at the middle school. According to the anonymous educator, he never reported the rape because he feared the district would retaliate against him. 

Attempting to calm the public, Russell Bruhn, a spokesperson for the Brevard school district completely disputed the lawmaker’s report. He asserted to The Press that there was never any attack, victim, witness, or parents who had come forward with any such claims about rape over this past summer. Seemingly accusing Randy Fine of fanning the flames on the debate over transgender bathroom rights, Bruhn said that rep. owed the school an apology for his “baseless” claim. 

To make the situation disavowing Randy Fine’s claims clear, Bruhn added that over the summer, students were given extra security when making trips to use the restroom. He told Florida Today that students were escorted to restrooms by staff because many students were unfamiliar with the layout as they came from neighboring schools. Also, construction throughout the school led to the decision to require students to be accompanied to bathrooms.

Backing up Bruhn’s statement, local authorities also confirmed that they had no reports of any attacks at Johnson Middle School over the past summer. However, since Randy Fine initiated the claims, Melbourne police assigned two detectives to investigate the allegations. So far, no information has been unraveled.

These charged claims come at a time when contentious debates are fueling school battles all across the country. Some states have now passed legislation prohibiting transgender students from accessing school facilities that don’t align with their birth gender. While some parents and lawmakers like Randy Fine are trying to showcase the fears that accompany such open bathroom policies, opposers fear that these claims will only place discriminating targets on transgender students.