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After weeks of sporadic protests and attention from international and right-wing media, a Canadian high school at the centre of a controversy over a transgender teacher’s decision to wear an extremely large breast prosthesis has received three known bomb threats.
On Wednesday, November 15, the Halton Police Service announced that the school had been placed on lockdown and that students and parents should not attend.
In an expletive-laden email sent to police and members of the media, the author claims that unless the teacher in question is fired, a sustained campaign of bombing would be carried out against the school, Halton’s school board, and the city.
"You have forfeited your right to life. You are enabling the grooming of our children,” read the message.
Also named in the threat are HDSB Superintendent of Human Resources Sari Taha and Director of Education Curtis Ennis. Both individuals were named in reporting after it was determined the board would face “liability” if it tried to impose dress code rules onto the teacher.
“Their cars will have blown up, and their houses burned down. We placed bombs in the Oakville Trafalgar high school and the Halton District School Board,” the email said. “We will continue to bomb your city until you fire this worthless disgusting subhuman you call a teacher. We will destroy the entire city. The choice is yours.”
The school was quickly cleared and reopened by law enforcement the same day, but less than 24 hours later, the same school became the target of another bomb threat.
“We are aware of further threats being made towards Oakville Trafalgar High School. Officers have attended and searched the school extensively,” Halton Regional Police Service wrote on Twitter. “The school has been deemed safe at this time and remains open. Ongoing police presence can be expected.”
According to a spokesperson for the police, the email messages received by the school on Wednesday and Thursday were very similar in tone.
“Our officers attended Oakville Trafalgar High School and conducted a search. The school has been deemed safe at that time and remained open on Thursday,” they told CAHN. “Police also contacted the specific individuals named in the threats to ensure their safety.
“The investigation is still ongoing at this time and no arrests have been made.”
A similar threat received over the weekend is also being investigated by law enforcement, police added.
The school board says they are working with police to investigate the threats.
“The safety and well-being of students and staff is our top priority, each and every day,” an HDSB representative wrote in an emailed statement.
Fighting “Gender Ideology”
A circus of outrage and media descended on the school after video footage of a teacher wearing a pair of oversized prosthetic breasts with protruding nipples to the school during class. Quickly garnering massive attention from mainstream and alternative media sources alike, the video spread even faster across social platforms and far-right spaces.
Acting as a lightning rod of attention for the far-right in their opposition to what they often refer to as “gender ideology,” the actions of one individual has come to stand as those of an entire community.
This is tragically not the first, nor will it be the last, institution to receive threats for any public connection to controversies related to transgender identity. September data from Counting Crowds show a marked increase in right-wing extremist attacks on the LGBTQ community in the US.
This weekend saw a deadly shooting also taking place targeting an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs killing five and wounding 25. In August, Boston Children’s Hospital became the target of similar vitriol as the facilities care programs for transgender children were misrepresented in anti-transgender media.
After “Libs Of TikTok” founder Chaya Raichik posted online claiming the children’s hospital was performing hysterectomies on minors, Vice World News reported that far-right extremists had begun to talk about executing doctors involved online. Raichik’s claim has been routinely debunked.
Another event that appeared on a social media post by the “Libs Of TikTok” account, a Drag Queen Story Hour in a California public library, was stormed by five men dressed as Proud Boys.
Multiple protests have occurred outside the building, while right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson called gender-affirming care the “mutilation of children” during an episode with prominent Canadian anti-transgender activist Chris “Billboard Chris” Elston.
The targeting of Boston Children’s also includes multiple threats on the building and staff, the most recent of which was received five days ago.
While the outrage against the medical program began in summer, the Boston Herald reported that the most recent threats came from an encrypted email account using the name “Ukrloh.” The threats received by Oakville Trafalgar High School came from someone using the same screen name. It is not known if they came from the same email, though both threats were sent on November 16.
Quotes from the recent threats against both the hospital and the school contain similar language.
“We placed bombs in the Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) at the Boston Children’s Hospital. We placed bombs in the houses of three of the doctors as well,” the treat reportedly said, echoing claims in the email to the school that two board members had already been killed by bombing.