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Trans 7th grader assaulted in Spokane, Washington by another student

The boy’s mother told KREM CBS2 News that she believes that her son’s gender identity played a major role in the incident

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13 year-old Spokane 7th grader Ian Ring via CBS-affiliate KREM 2 News

SPOKANE, Wa. – A disturbing SnapChat video of a 13 year-old Trans male student at Dr. Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Spokane being pummeled by another student this past week is under investigation by the Spokane Police department.

Sitting beside his mother, Ian Ring told CBS-affiliate KREM 2 News Wednesday, “I turned around, he pushed me and then I pushed him back. And he got closer, and he punched me. And then he continued from there, then I had taken his glasses off him to try and get him away.”

Ring’s mother told the station that she believes that her son’s gender identity played a major role in the incident; “The conversation that we have always had about these kind of issues is to walk away, not make yourself a target, you know, especially when you’re alone and not with family,” Ring said. “He’s gone to the mall a few times and was wearing sweaters that are promoting identity and you need to be very careful, like this is an issue and if your family’s not there to protect you can’t just be yourself without worrying about even adults, you know, coming after you.”

Video of the incident, broadcast by KREM CBS 2 News, shows the attack with other students standing around laughing and no one stepping forward to intervene. According to Ring the incident took place after school as students were waiting on busses to take them home.

A spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department told the Blade that a student has been charged with fourth degree assault although no one is in custody and the incident is under active investigation. The police department is barred from releasing names of minors involved in incidents being investigated.

A statement released by Spoke Public Schools reads: “SPS takes any incident involving student conflict very seriously. We are investigating what has occurred and will work to partner with all parties involved.”

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Washington State high school grapples with racism & anti-LGBTQ bias

“We are devastated that hatred & intolerance has manifested itself in our school district-this causes marginalized students to be fearful”

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Monroe High School, Monroe Washington (Photo credit: Monroe School District)

MONROE – Police and school administrators are grappling with an apparent hate crime and a rise in incidents of racism and anti-LGBTQ discrimination at Monroe High School, located about forty minutes Northeast of downtown Seattle.

The latest incident occurred last week in the school’s parking lot just before lunchtime. Mobile phone video footage circulated on Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram showed a white student repeatedly calling a Black student the ‘N’ word in a confrontation, and at one point, the white student hits the Black student in the head with a plastic water bottle.

Monroe police spokesperson, Commander Paul Ryan told media outlets that the confrontation was brief and that a student tried to deescalate it before the school resource officer stepped in.

The Everett and Snohomish County newspaper, the Daily Herald, reported that in a letter/emails sent to parents last Wednesday evening, Monroe High’s principal Brett Wille stated that the school administration is working with Monroe police on their investigation.

“It is with great sadness that I write to let you know about an incident that occurred today at Monroe High School involving racial slurs and aggression towards a Black/African American student,” Wille wrote. “This incident occurred in the parking lot during lunch time and was witnessed by a handful of other students, was video recorded, and was possibly shared on social media. It also resulted in additional police presence on campus and we are partnering with law enforcement in their investigation of this incident.”

In an open letter to the community last Friday, Superintendent of the Monroe Schools District, Dr. Justin Blasko wrote:

“I am writing to you today in response to a recent incident of racial harassment and assault of a Black student at Monroe High School. We are devastated that hatred and intolerance has manifested itself in our school district. We recognize that this incident causes our underrepresented and traditionally marginalized students and families to be fearful, angry, and to question their own sense of belonging in our school community. My heart goes out to these students and families and I commit that, as a system, we will continue to learn and grow together.”

Blasko then cited the District’s policy; “The Monroe School District will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

He added, “These words are meaningless unless the reality of our environment is reflective of anti-discrimination. The incident this week demonstrates that we must continue to come together to learn, grow, and commit ourselves as a community to do better.”

However, according to the Daily Herald;

Racism has been an ongoing issue in Monroe schools. A survey conducted by the student-led Monroe Inclusion Collective found that, out of 89 respondents, over 57% had experienced racism in the district. Similar amounts reported experiencing anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination or sexism.

Those incidents were most likely to occur outside the classroom but on school grounds, as is the case with the most recent episode. And almost 82% of respondents said they did not report their experiences to school leadership. Their reasons included not trusting staff and a lack of representation among leadership.

Of those that did report racism or other discrimination, again nearly 82% said they didn’t feel safe after doing so.

Students presented the survey’s findings to the Monroe School district Board this past January.

Melanie Ryan, board president of the Monroe Equity Council, told the paper

“All of those students and their families have continually expressed ongoing issues of bullying and harassment and various types of incidences that just haven’t been adequately addressed by the district,”

“What will ultimately decide whether we progress or not is going to likely be the students themselves,” Ryan said. “The students will have a powerful ability to put pressure within this system to say we don’t accept this anymore.”

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Vancouver Trans teen’s murderer will spend next 19 1/2 years in prison

Judge David Gregerson became emotional when reading his statement about the case pointing to challenges the victim faced as a trans teen

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Nikki Kuhnhausen, undated family photo via the Vancouver, Washington Police Department

VANCOUVER, Wa. – The 27-year-old man convicted by a Clark County, Washington jury last month in the murder of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a 17-year-old female trans teenager who went missing in 2019, was sentenced last Thursday to the maximum sentence of 19½ years in prison.

David Bogdanov, who showed no reaction as his sentence was handed down by the judge, was convicted on one count of second-degree murder along with an additional count of malicious harassment, which is a hate crime in the state of Washington.

Speaking to the media after the sentencing surrounded by family members and supporters, Lisa Woods, the mother of Kuhnhausen said; “I feel so blessed and I am so grateful,” and then added: “She was just a baby, she was just a teenager and he took her life, you know. He got the maximum and that’s what he deserved.”

Clark County Superior Court Judge David Gregerson became emotional when reading his statement about the case and trial, pointing to Kuhnhausen’s identity and the challenges she had faced as a trans female teen.

“That identity ended in a particularly cruel spasm of violence on June 6, 2019, and it was followed by the most undignified form of final disposition of her body, then by repeated lies and obfuscation,” Gregerson said.

Detectives David Jensen and Jason Mills of the Vancouver Police Department testified in court that they had examined Kuhnhausen’s Snapchat account which led them to identify Bogdanov as a person of interest in her disappearance, the Columbian newspaper reported. A search warrant for Bogdanov’s Snapchat account corroborated that the two had met and that he gave her a ride in his car.

After Kuhnhausen’s murder Bogdanov dumped her body down the hillside of Larch Mountain, booked a one-way flight to Ukraine and called a friend to “get rid” of his car, according to trial testimony. He returned to the U.S. about six weeks later, the Columbian also reported.

Outrage over the murder had led to the State of Washington enacting a law to prevent a “gay panic defense.” In March of 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act, House Bill 1687, making Washington the 10th state to enact such a ban.

“The bill brings us closer to telling the LGBT community they are valued in Washington and closer to honoring Nikki and the positive stride she made on behalf of the trans community,” Inslee said at the time of his signing the legislation.

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Washington

Man convicted of murder plus hate crime in death of Vancouver Trans teen

Outrage over the murder had led to the State of Washington enacting a law to prevent a “gay panic defense.”

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KOMO ABC News 4 Seattle, screenshot of Nikki Kuhnhausen (Family photos via Vancouver PD)

VANCOUVER, Wa. – Jurors hearing the case against 27-year-old David Bogdanov, accused of killing a 17-year-old Trans female in 2019, convicted him on one count of second-degree murder along with an additional count of malicious harassment, which is a hate crime in the state of Washington last week.

The skull and scattered remains of Nikki Kuhnhausen had been found in the Larch Mountain area of eastern Clark County in December 2019, six months after she had been reported missing by her mother Lisa Woods.

Detectives David Jensen and Jason Mills of the Vancouver Police Department testified in court that they had examined Kuhnhausen’s Snapchat account which led them to identify Bogdanov as a person of interest in her disappearance, the Columbian newspaper reported. A search warrant for Bogdanov’s Snapchat account corroborated that the two had met and that he gave her a ride in his car.

Bogdanov, who was the only person to testify in his defense, claimed that he killed Kuhnhausen in self-defense. On the stand, Bogdanov said that during his sexual encounter with Kuhnhausen in June of 2019, he discovered she was transgender, Portland, Oregon’s NBC affiliate KGW8 reported.

He testified that when he tried to get her out of his car, Kuhnhausen reached for his gun, and that he had no choice but to subdue her. He argued he strangled Kuhnhausen with the cord of a cellphone charger nearby in self defense as he tried to keep her away.

In his court testimony, Bogdanov and his lawyers argued that the self defense claim stemmed from his attempt to prevent his family from discovering that he had sexual contact with someone who was born male. The defense included Bogdanov testifying that he would’ve been shunned if his family found out. The probable cause for his arrest warrant included the notation; [he]”became enraged at the realization that he had engaged in sexual contact with a male whom he believed to be female and strangled Nikki to death.”

After Kuhnhausen’s murder Bogdanov dumped her body down the hillside of Larch Mountain, booked a one-way flight to Ukraine and called a friend to “get rid” of his car, according to trial testimony. He returned to the U.S. about six weeks later, the Columbian also reported.

Outrage over the murder had led to the State of Washington enacting a law to prevent a “gay panic defense.” In March of 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act, House Bill 1687, making Washington the 10th state to enact such a ban.

“The bill brings us closer to telling the LGBT community they are valued in Washington and closer to honoring Nikki and the positive stride she made on behalf of the trans community,” Inslee said at the time of his signing the legislation.

David Bogdanov’s sentencing is set for Sept. 9, 2021 in Clark County, Washington Superior Court.

Man found guilty in murder of Nikki Kuhnhausen; Vancouver teen’s death inspired new law.

The Nikki Kuhnhausen Act eliminates the “gay panic” or “trans panic” legal defense. The Clark County prosecutor said this case and verdict show trans people are entitled to equal protection under the law. Ashley Korslien joined The Story to explain:

 

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