Assistant Principal Who Demanded Trans Student Use Urinal in Front of Him Loses Job

The Harrison County Board of Education voted unanimously not to renew Lee Livengood’s contract.

A West Virginia assistant principal who made national headlines for demanding a transgender sophomore use a urinal in front of him is out of a job.

On Tuesday, the Harrison County Board of Education voted unanimously not to renew Lee Livengood’s contract.

The vote follows a November 2018 incident during which Livengood allegedly followed 15-year-old Michael Chritchfield into a boys’ room at Liberty High School and shouted, “I’m not going to lie: You freak me out.” Livengood reportedly challenged Critchfield to prove he was male by using a urinal in front of him and then blocked the student from exiting the bathroom.

Courtesy of the ACLU of West Virginia
Above: Michael Critchfield speaks at a podium draped in a transgender pride flag.

Critchfield described the incident as “terrifying.” “At the end of the day, all I want is to feel welcome and safe in my school,” he said.

Livengood was suspended without pay following the allegations, but according the ACLU of West Virginia, the district has failed to make any changes to keep transgender students safe since.

Loree Stark, the ACLU of West Virginia’s legal director, alleges that the school allowed Livengood to oversee Critchfield’s lunch hour when he returned to work in February. Stark also claims the district failed to establish a faculty-sponsored GSA or a trans-affirming policy.

Livengood came under fire a second time in February after he sent Critchfield a mandatory apology, published by that ACLU, that was just two sentences.

“I am deeply sorry for raising my voice while in the bathroom on 11/27/18,” it read. “I promise it won’t happen again.”

Courtesy of the ACLU of West Virginia

On Tuesday, the ACLU delivered a petition with more than 1,100 signatures, demanding accountability from the district. According to the organization, more than 40 protested the board meeting.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that Superintendent Mark Manchin, cousin of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, recommended the district extend Livengood’s contract an additional year. The board voted against the suggestion. Livengood’s contract expires at the end of June.

ACLU

Last week, the ACLU hinted that it might be weighing litigation against the district. In statement to media outlets, Stark said the organization was not done fighting Critchfield’s case despite the vote.

“While we’re glad to see Harrison County Schools taking accountability for what happened in the bathroom that day, we expect talks to resume regarding the implementation of best practice trans-inclusive policies that will better protect LGBTQ students and create a safer learning environment for Michael moving forward,” Stark said. “Anything less would be unacceptable.”

Manchin and Harrison County Board of Education President Frank Devono, Jr. did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Kate Sosin is an award-winning, trans-identified news and investigative reporter.
@shoeleatherkate