MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A transgender student at a Memphis high school said she is being targeted because of her gender identity.
Keloni Grand said a group of boys from Melrose High School called her names and threatened to hurt her after school Monday.
Grand tried to do the right thing and walk away, but the group kept following her and calling her names. One student even spit on her.
WHBQ-TV reached out to SCS, and officials said they are looking into the incident.
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The name-calling escalated to death threats, according to Grand.
“They were saying the usual names,” Grand said. “‘You f****t, you gay, you t****y. We ready to fight you. We ready to beat you, we are going to shoot you, we going to kill you.’”
Those painful words were shouted on the campus where Grand used to feel safe.
She was talking to friends outside Melrose when two boys tried to fight her after school Monday.
“I was like, ‘Why you always messing with me? Can’t you leave me alone?’” Grand said.
Grand said she is no stranger to bullying. She started transitioning from a man to a woman at the beginning of the month.
And the name calling kept getting worse.
Grand made two complaints in the past, but she claims nothing was done.
“Sometimes, I think I should hide myself, but people tell me to keep pushing and be myself,” Grand said.
After walking away from those two boys, two more joined in and followed her. Then one of them spit on her.
Luckily, Grand’s grandmother and aunt picked her up before the crowd got bigger.
Her aunt, who did not want to be identified, was shocked by what she saw.
“There were 15, 16 guys out there, and I said, ‘All of them want to fight you for what?’” said the girl’s aunt.
Her grandmother made a complaint that same day, but it is unclear if any action was taken.
Grand said this is the last straw. She is considering transferring schools to avoid further harassment.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s shocking that I have to be removed from a situation because people don’t like who I am,” Grand said.
WHBQ-TV spoke with Martavius Hampton with “Out Memphis,” an advocacy group for the LGBTQ community.
He said it is important to have a strong support system for LGBTQ students at school.
“Want to make sure if someone makes a report or complaint that it’s followed through and it’s respected to make sure the student is safe or protected,” Hampton said.
Hampton said if complaints aren’t addressed, students can struggle with mental health issues – and the harassment even cause some students to transfer schools.
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