Randi Foster, a 12-year-old student at Hernando Middle School in Hernando, Mississippi, was beat up by classmates because of her masculine-sounding name. Jesus.
Last Wednesday four girls and a boy surrounded Randi after a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting, “talking about me like I was a man, and like, stuff like that,” Randi says, who was teased for enjoying sports. “That I shouldn’t be in this world. And my name was a boy name.” The kids then proceeded to kick her in the legs and ribs, hit her face, and throw her into a cafeteria table. Randi’s mother Meggan Foster says closed-circuit security cameras caught the whole thing on tape, but the principal won’t turn over the footage because it involves other students. And while disciplinary action will be taken “to the fullest extent of the law,” the principal assures. But that sounds like an empty promise: the police were not involved and no report was filed, which means “fullest extent” equals suspension or expulsion.
“I’m not scared or terrified,” says Randi, a brave young woman. “I’m a little worried because I’m not sure, you know, what’s going to happen when I do go back to school.”
Which is silly: She should know what’s going to happen. She she be assured by administrators the students will be kept at a distance, forced to undergo tolerance counseling, and otherwise punished. Moreover, there’s no reason Randi’s mother cannot still go to police, who will obtain the video footage and enable Randi’s family to press charges. And the leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Students should be taking an active stand against this bullying — and kick out the students who attacked Randi.
This isn’t about kids being kids. Somehow these little brats learned it’s okay to attack their peers for even the slightest perception of gender non-conformity.
The requisite Facebook group has already popped up and includes this message from a one Randi Gurwitz: “I wanted to say my name is Randi and i am a girl. I cannot even believe this has happened to you. You are beautiful and perfect the way you are. you should press charges. It seems crazy to me that this would happen, but that is because I live in Maryland, where we are very diverse and cultural. Be proud of your NAME. i… am proud, and you should be too ! When i was younger i hated it and people teased me… now im so happy that my name is different. What shocks me is no matter what your age/ gender/ or sexual orientation is… they beat you up because of your name!!! not that any of these things are acceptable, but a name? I wanted you to know i did a project on your story about civil rights in my college level class :/ stay positive, things will look up.”