Two transgender students were kicked off a school bus in New York, and here’s what we know

As humans, we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes, and the sad reality is we often don’t take the time to truly understand people who are different from us and end up hurting them as a result. That may have been the case recently when two transgender students were reportedly kicked off their school bus in New York. The incident happened last Wednesday and involved students from South Glens Falls High School.

According to the Times Union, a bus driver forced two transgender boys, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, to get off the bus when they refused to sit on the side of the bus that was designated for girls. The driver had previously separated the kids by gender, putting boys on one side and girls on the other. The two teens merely wanted to sit in the section that matched their identity —  on the boys’ side. They refused to move, which was well within their rights according to a statement released by the school district.

“The students politely refused and remained in their seats, with every right to do so, the district said in a statement. “The driver then gave the students a choice of either moving or getting off the school bus.

The incident was recorded, posted to Facebook and has since gone viral. In the video, we see and hear other students defending the teens with shouts of “That’s not right!” and “Do you know how ridiculous this situation is?” One young lady in particular, 15-year-old Lilly Wolfe, stood up and tried to explain to the driver of the bus that he was discriminating against the students based on their gender identity, but clearly he didn’t get it.

The bus driver then gave the students an ultimatum: Switch sides or get off the bus. The two students chose to exit the bus and remain in the school parking lot. From there, both students contacted a school administrator, and their parents were immediately called. Thankfully, the teens were able to take another bus and arrived home safely. The district has since taken a hands-on approach to the matter and are trying to determine how to prevent issues like these from reoccurring.

“We do not tolerate any form of discrimination against our students, said Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton said in the same public statement. “All students need to feel safe and supported when they are in our classrooms, on our school property or riding in our school buses. We will continue to train and educate all of our students and adults about protecting the rights and needs of all students.

Our hearts go out to the teens who suffered through this completely unnecessary experience. But we’re heartened by the outpouring of support from the other kids and the swift action of the school district to correct the issue. The ignorance of one person feels far outweighed by the compassion of so many others — and to us, that feels like progress.

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