Superintendent says death threats led to transgender bathroom decision reversal

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia school superintendent says he received death threats after he allowed students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

Pickens County Superintendent Carlton Wilson said the threats came from parents who opposed the recent change. He said he reversed his decision because of the threats.

Channel 2's Lauren Davis sat down with Wilson one-on-one about the extreme hate he said he received during the last few weeks.

Wilson said he's disappointed in the hatred this issue has brought out in his community.

“The way some called names has been embarrassing and disappointing to me, and that’s hard to get over,” Wilson said.

He recalls the latest threat.

“One of them said, ‘You know, situations like this brings out crazy people from both sides and sometimes people die,’” Wilson said.

Davis asked if that message was left on a voicemail, but Wilson said it was told to him.

Death threats weren’t his only concern.

Wilson said there was harassment, which led to a juvenile charged with disorderly conduct after making threats on social media. He said there was also vandalism and graffiti in the girls bathroom.

Wilson told Channel 2 Action News that he called an emergency meeting and the board members voted to withdraw the changes, which means transgender students will go back to using a single stall private bathroom that used to be for faculty members.


We spoke with people in the community who had mixed reaction to the transgender bathroom procedures.

“As long as they are taking an active means to transition, then, by all means, I don’t care,” said resident John Holden.

“I think the boys ought to go to the boys' and girls' ought to go to girls' bathroom,” said Pickens County resident Barbara Padgett.

We talked to a former Pickens County High School student, who is transgender, and he said there are only a few single stall bathrooms, so he was often late to class.

“Me, personally, I didn't feel comfortable using the teacher's bathroom because they were nice teachers, but they didn't understand,” said Kino Stanfield.

Wilson just wants all the kids to feel safe.

“They’re kids. They are all kids and none deserved to be treated the way some of them have been treated,” Wilson said.

Davis reached out to the board members, but they don’t want to discuss the matter.