Virginia mom sues school over daughter Sage Blair's secret transition

Virginia mom sues school district claiming staff kept daughter Sage Blair’s transition to male a secret before runaway teen was kidnapped, raped and trafficked across state lines

  • Sage Blair, then 14, was kidnapped and sex-trafficked after running away from home for a number of reasons, including severe bullying and harassment
  • Her parents are now suing the school district for withholding the information from them that Sage had begun to identify as a male publicly
  • Her parents claim she was bullied mercilessly and harassed with threats of rape by her classmates, but school officials deny their account of what happened

The mother of a teenage girl who was bullied in school and eventually sex-trafficked is suing her daughter’s school district for withholding the information that the teenage student was identifying as a male at school.

Michelle Blair, the mother of Sage Blair, filed a lawsuit against the Appomattox County School Board and district staff, in addition to a Baltimore public defender for actions that she allege deprived her of properly parenting her child.

Blair now claims that her daughter was severely bullied in high school, which she was aware of – but alleges that the school district withheld information about why the bullying was happening. Sage had begun identifying as a boy at school.

The bullying, says Blair included ‘verbal’ and ‘physical’ assaults, but also included a constant barrage of ‘threats of rape by the male classmates.’ 

‘Despite this, the school encouraged her to use the boys’ bathroom,’ she said.

Blair previously informed the school that her daughter had a history of mental health issues, including depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and hallucinations.

Even with that information, however, the school opted to pursue a social transition for Sage behind the backs of her parents.

Sage, then 14, was encouraged to socially transition by her school, without her parents knowing

Michele Blair is now suing the Virginia school district for withholding information from her and her husband about their child, which they claim led her to run away and eventually be sex-trafficked

The then-14-year-old girl was allowed to change her name to Draco at school. Her parents eventually uncovered details of the situation only when they found a hall pass in Draco’s name. 

According to the Child & Parent Rights Campaign, who filed the suit on behalf of Blair, the school’s decision to withhold information about Sage’s gender identity ‘deprived’ Blair of her ability to ‘exercise her fundamental parental rights to direct the upbringing of her daughter, including making educational and mental health decisions.’

Vernadette Broyles, Blair’s CPRC attorney, told the Washington Examiner that Sage ran away from home because of the bullying and harassment she was facing at school.

Previous reports indicate that Sage first ran away from home the night her parents found the hall pass with the name Draco on it.

‘The school officials were encouraging her to use the boys’ bathroom, even though they knew she was being threatened with sexual assault, so she perceived herself that she wasn’t safe and she runs away from home,’ said Broyles.

‘She runs into the arms of a waiting pedophile, who encounters her, rapes her, traffics her with two other men, and takes her across state lines into Washington, D.C., and then ultimately into Maryland.’

In Maryland, Sage was eventually tracked down and rescued by FBI agents, which is where her nightmare journey should have ended.

However, the Baltimore juvenile court system assumed custody of the adolescent at the instruction of Aneesa Khan, an area public defender.

Khan had made the call that Sage’s parents were not ‘sufficiently affirming’ of her new identity and, according to the suit, fabricated a ‘story of abuse and neglect by the parents’ that convinced a judge to keep her in custody.

Sage’s parents said in the time she ran away, she was abducted and abused by numerous men in several locations before she was tracked down and rescued by law enforcement. She was then placed under court protection and spent nearly a year away from her family. Pictured: A missing persons poster after Sage ran away from home

Blair is suing the Appomattox County school district because of the way it handled the information that her daughter had begun to publicly identify as a male

Sage Blair for short time identified as the trans boy, Draco, with a vibrant streak of blue hair

While in state custody, Sage was placed in a juvenile facility for young men, ‘where she was again sexually assaulted, exposed to drugs, and denied medical and mental health care,’ the suit claims.

‘This is a 100-pound girl, what do you think happens in this facility?’ said Broyles.

Maryland’s top public defender, Natasha Dartigue, said she and her office were backing Khan in the fight.

‘We fully support our attorney, who appropriately represented her client in accordance with her legal, ethical, and professional obligations,’ she said.

At the male facility and once again in fear for her safety, Sage again ran away and was again picked up by a sex-trafficker who brought her to Texas ‘where she was again raped, drugged, starved, and tortured until law enforcement in Texas rescued her and notified her mother who returned her to Virginia,’ the suit states.

Since her return to her parents’ home, Sage has ‘undergone intensive in-patient and outpatient therapy to address the multiple incidents of extreme trauma.’ She was also diagnosed with complex PTSD.

Broyles argues that what happened to Sage is a direct result of the school’s failure. The issue at hand, however, will be fixed when ‘ideologically driven school officials are forced to recognize it is not within their competency, their authority to be transitioning a child without the direct involvement of their parents, period.’

‘It is frankly just cruel and irresponsible for school officials to be encouraging confusion, gender confusion in particularly traumatized young girls with histories of mental health.’

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has spoken about Sage’s case before, and several months ago implemented new state guidance that will tamp down some of the school policies that led to the teen’s experience.

Baltimore public defender Aneesa Khan is also named in the suit for allegedly sending Sage to a juvenile facility for young men, instead of returning her to her parents, who she said did not affirm her gender identity

Activist lawyer Vernadette Broyles, founder of Child and Parental Rights Campaign, has led cases against school districts and other face-offs between parents and teachers 

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin created a guidance that would prevent schools from withholding information about a child’s gender identity from their parents

Under Youngkin’s guidance, parents must now be informed if their child is socially transitioning – which was not the case in 2021, when Sage underwent her traumatic experience.

Youngkin, a Republican, won his race in late 2021 against former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a state that Joe Biden had won by ten points just one year earlier. 

Michele and Roger Blair and Sage’s biological grandparents – they legally adopted her when she was a toddler.

When Sage was 14 she began treatment for depression at the same time she was starting a new high school in central Virginia. It was at school, say the parents, that Sage was exposed to a barrage of ’emos,’ goths, and a panoply of sexuality and gender options.

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