Mother of Girl Sent Home for Pro-Gay T-shirt Gets Harassed Online With Orlando Reference

Beth Greenfield
Senior Writer

In May, we wrote about 13-year-old Ali Chaney of Texas, who was reprimanded by school officials for proudly wearing a T-shirt that read, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” While the school deemed the message “disruptive,” Chaney’s mom vocally supported her lesbian daughter’s right to express herself, as did a slew of commenters on social media, as well as Lambda Legal.

And now comes this twisted update: an antigay Facebook message sent to Chaney’s mom, Cassie Watson, apparently from the account of a local elementary school teacher, warning that the teen could be the next victim of an Orlando-style massacre.

“In light of the Orlando incident wear all gay people were openly slaughtered, I wonder if you’d still let your daughter wear the t-shirt to school that caused public controversy and may have subjected her to possible harm by others?” read the message, which was sent to Watson at 4:53 a.m. on Monday. “Being gay isn’t a crime but publicly forcing your opinion upon others, and to do it through your child at school, will always be offensive to others.”

The message — which referenced the tragic June 12 massacre in which a gunman killed 49 revelers at the LGBT nightclub Pulse — came from the account of Janice Williams, an elementary teacher in the neighboring Killeen, Texas, school district, about 10 miles away from Chaney’s middle school in Copperas Cove. After the message was reported by KCEN, however, Williams provided a statement to the news station claiming that her Facebook account had been hacked.

“My FB account was hacked yesterday and I was not responsible for the message sent to the lady causing her to believe that her child would be harmed. It took several attempts to delete the account after notifying FB that my account had been hacked. I have lived my life protecting the rights of others and being an advocate for ALL children. I’m saddened that a hacker can cause such negativity and division among so many people. Please give my sincerest apology to this woman and her child. Thank you.”

Williams did not return an email request for comment from Yahoo Style.

A Facebook spokesperson told Yahoo Style that the company does not comment on individual accounts — nor would he comment on any general characteristics of what a hacked account would look like.

Watson, who posted a screenshot of the message on her own Facebook page on Monday, did so along with the caption “Interesting to wake up to.” Then KCEN reported Williams’s claim that her account had been hacked, which Watson posted, inspiring commenters to chime in with thoughts including “Total BS,” “You have got to be kidding,” “… she realized she messed up and is now scared as hell,” and “She is just trying to save her job!!” As for Watson’s take? She told KCEN the following: “I would hate to ruin somebody’s career over a simple message. But if this is how she truly feels, and there is a possibility that she could be teaching our young kids these lessons, then I absolutely believe that she may need to find a new profession.”

Read this next: How the Orlando Shootings Affect the LGBT Community

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