A transgender teen who had previously claimed he was sexually assaulted and beaten in a California high school restroom has recanted his story according to the Associated Press. The 15-year-old student, who was not named, is biologically female but identifies as male and had claimed the attack happened in the boy’s bathroom at Hercules High School. Tuesday, the teen said he made up the story of the attack.
Officer Connie Van Putten of the Hercules Police Department told the San Jose Mercury News the teen “admitted he fabricated the entire story.” Van Putten added the department will review the case to determine if the teen could be charged with filing a false police report.
School officials expressed relief that the event turned out to be false, but urged continued support for transgender students. "I'm just relieved that nothing of this nature did happen," said Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa Unified school board.
Ramsey added that the teen’s motives in filing the report should be investigated. "Everybody is human and we all make mistakes. It doesn't take away from the fact that we need more support for transgender students," he said.
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The incident sheds new light on a recent California law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. The controversial AB 1266 went into effect on Jan. 1 and gives students in all grades the right to decide what bathrooms and locker rooms they will use. Religious groups and other advocacy groups like the Pacific Justice Institute oppose the law. Brad Dacus is the president of that institute and said this recent incident highlights the need of transgender students to seek counseling.
"A student making a false accusation is disappointing," Dacus said. "It just shows that kids dealing with gender identification issues need counseling, not entrance into bathrooms and locker rooms of students of the opposite biological sex.”
He added that the current law places “transgender students in situations where they aren't safe,” and that it is only a matter of time until an actual attack occurs. He believes voters should act quickly to have the law repealed.
Mario Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa School District, of which Hercules High is a part, said school officials are most concerned about making sure the student who recanted the story gets the support needed to feel safe and comfortable at school.
"We recognize that life is complicated, and at the end of the day this is a request for help," Trujillo said.